Friday, August 24, 2012

where did john malkovich go?

My mom has dementia, and thankfully, at least so far, her deterioration has been gradual. Sometimes I don't even notice that some new word or thing is "missing" for her until it is pointed out to me, situationally.

The other night we were watching the movie Johnny English, starring Rowan Atkinson (who mom loves) as Britain's most inept spy. John Malkovich was playing the super-villain, complete with an outrageous French accent. Mom recognized him, but as she usually does these days when we are watching a movie, she asked me what his name was. I usually tell her and she nods, as it sounds familiar to her. But when I said, "John Malkovich," she shook her head. It was a complete blank. It was gone.

John Malkovich and Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English
Now to be fair, it's hardly essential that she recall Malkovich's name, no matter how much of a movie buff she used to be. But I couldn't help but wonder, where did his name go? Where do all of the things that she is gradually forgetting go? Do they just shrivel up and die? Do they evaporate "into the ether," as in one of her favorite expressions. One of her past favorite expressions, that is, as I highly doubt she would know what I meant by "ether" these days. So many words, so many nouns, so many names. All gone.

Au revoir John Malkovich. Your name may be gone, but at least for now, your face still seems familiar.
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