“A lie would make no sense unless the truth was felt to be dangerous.” Carl Jung
“Leilani,” Lila said in answer to the nurse’s question.
“Mom, she asked what your name is?” Katie instructed her mother softly.
“Leilani,” Lila said again. “Leilani Marie.”
“It’s Lila Monroe, Mom,” Lila told her mother carefully.
“No!” Lila said now frustrated. “Leilani Marie.” Lila paused a moment, “My mother. My uncle,” she finished frustrated that she was unable to put a full sentence together.
“It’s okay,” the nurse said cheerfully. “Let’s try something else. “Who is the president?”
Lila looked at Katie for an answer.
“There is a big election coming up Mom,” Katie said. “Do you remember? Do you remember the name of the president?”
Lila bent her left knee and dragged it up the bed and then pushed it straight away again in uncomfortable agitation.
“You like the new guy, Ronald Regan, the actor. You want him to be president but I don’t. Remember we had a whole debate about it because I want the current president to be re-elected. Do you remember what his name is? President blank?” Katie said using her hands as she spoke, trying to help coax her mother into remembering.
Lila looked at Katie again, she furrowed her brow and looked away.
“It’s okay Mom, it will come back. You are just tired,” Katie consoled.
“Leilani,” Lila said again and looked up with conviction. “Heavenly flower,” she said. “Marie,” she said, “Bitter sea. Sorrows.”
Katie looked at the nurse for help but the nurse only returned her gaze with sympathetic eyes. “You should rest Mrs. Monroe,” the nurse instructed. “You’ve been through a lot; your brain needs to rest.”
“I saved her,” Lila spit out seamlessly; satisfied with the full sentence she carefully pieced together.
“Who did you save?” Katie asked.
“Mom,” Lila answered. “Me,” Lila said pointing to herself with her left hand. “Heavenly flower, saved her. Drowning. Bitter sea. Sorrows,” Lila finished looking down at her right hand that lied without movement on the bed next to her leg.
Katie put her hand on top of her mother’s hand on the bed. She was careful not to disturb the needle that pierced through her skin and provided her mother with the fluids that she needed from the IV.
“I will stay right here Mom,” Katie said. “Close your eyes and rest.”
Lila listened to her daughter like an obedient child and closed her eyes. Katie pulled the chair close to the bed so she could hold her hand without strain.
With her eyes still closed Lila said, “No one saved me, no one saved me.”
Katie sat with her hand on her mother’s and kept very still. She watched as a tear flowed out of the corner of her mother’s eye and her body stiffen slightly with agitation as she repeated herself. She thought her mother might sit up for a moment but then her body softened as sedated sleep pulled her back under.
Katie left her mother and went out to the nurses’ station.
“Excuse me,” she called over to the nurse that was just in attendance at the bedside. “My mother is talking nonsense. What does that mean? What is wrong with her? How come she doesn’t know who the president is or her own name? Why is she talking all that nonsense?”
“The neurologist will be in this afternoon to do a full evaluation,” the nurse answered. “We just have to wait and see.”
“But is she okay?” Katie asked. “Will she get better?”
“I know it is hard,” the nurse said, again with those same sympathetic eyes that seemed to already say I’m sorry for your loss. “Her vitals are stable. She is breathing well on her own without the tube, that is all positive. The doctor will talk to you after he evaluates her but all we can do is wait and see how she does.”