She Never Forgot

by Karen Malena

During the last two years of my mother’s life and journey with dementia, she clung to the one thing that had meant so much to her: the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. When Dad would ask what she wanted to watch, she chose this movie night after night. Dad would patiently sit with her as if it was the first time they both were seeing it. Mom would giggle and say, “I must have seen this movie at least five times.” It became a little joke in our family.

My father had to put up with Mom’s comments of Gregory Peck too. This was not just an actor she had a crush on. Oh no. Mom loved him most of her life, but never more than when she was seventy-nine and in failing health. She spoke of Gregory Peck often, and to anyone who would listen. To her, he was a knight-in-shining armor type. A handsome gentleman that embodied the perfect man. He was soft-spoken, kind and good. And she’d swoon every time she saw him on the screen.

My father was patient with her and let her enjoy the fantasy love she had created around Mr. Peck. The funny thing though, my dad was just like him.

I’m extremely grateful for this amazing actor and great human being. For all the joy he brought my mother and the love affair she was able to imagine even with dementia.