“It’s like finding Easter eggs.” Mom said as she raked through loose change, cracker crumbs, and wadded up tissues in the bedside table drawer.
She just shook her head when she pulled out a tiny white round pill. Tears filled her eyes as she held it out to me.
“Look at this. She wasn’t even taking her heart pills.” With a shaky hand, she dropped it in the trashcan.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I thought about how my grandmother, Mammie, played hide and seek with her medicine and had us all fooled. The last couple of months before she died, her dementia had gotten pretty bad. She was uncooperative when it came to eating and taking medicine. Mom had fought it and tried to force feed her and fussed at her when she wouldn’t take hers meds. Poor Mom; She had just wanted to keep her own mother alive a little longer.
Next to the bed was Mammie’s purse. I pulled it out and emptied it on the bed. Inside was a small Derringer pistol, her billfold, an old utility bill with a grocery list scribbled on it in black eyeliner, and an assortment of colorful pills. I read the grocery list and chuckled. Mammie had awful spelling and spelled words exactly the way they sounded. The list showed she needed to pick up a head of lettuce, ice cream and laxatives. Her pistol, although never loaded, brought back a memory from my childhood of when she pulled it out on a woman who had taken her parking place at the Western Sizzler. Mammie was a firecracker to say the least.
“Mom, I found some more. They’re everywhere.” I spread the pills out with my hand on the rose printed sheets.
“Just throw them away.” She directed. “I wondered where she put them all.”
It had been two years since Mammie had died but Mom was just now ready to go through all Mammie’s things. She opened the slatted folding doors to the closet and just stood there. On the closet floor were Mammie’s shoes lined up. Mom picked up a pair of size five gold flats with cork heels.
“She loved these shoes. She wore them to church every Sunday.” She recalled.
I pointed to a yellow dress suit hanging to Mom’s left. “She wore them with that dress, too. I remember her telling me, ‘When I die, Jenny, don’t you let them bury me in yellow and don’t let them put red lipstick on me’.”
In the pocket of Mammie’s green coat, Mom found two more pills. By now, it had become a game for us.
“What are you doing?” My daughter, Salena asked as she came in the bedroom.
We told her how we were searching for Mammie’s pills and trying to find them all. Salena, being the smallest of us, crawled under the bed. While under there, she pulled out a pair of dirty slippers, a bottle of pink fingernail polish and some old candy.
“You won’t believe what I found.” Salena said. She crawled out and the three of us grabbed hold of the footboard and pulled the bed out from the wall.
Once we got it about two feet from the wall, we crawled on top and peered over the headboard. There on the floor, all along the baseboard was what looked like hundreds of pills.
“Well, I guess I found the rest of them.” Salena proudly declared.
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