We had breakfast on the bumper of her Toyota Tercel overlooking the ocean somewhere in California. It was her first trip west. I pulled over to an overlook, she said she was hungry. I got eggs and bacon out of the cooler (we were on a camping trip after all) and set up the stove on the stone wall. We were the envy of everyone who stopped to look at the ocean. As the sun burned off the last of the morning fog and we ate while birds chirped and tourists flashed a thumbs up sign to us, she sighed. "This has been the best breakfast I ever had."
It was. It has become her "madeline," as Proust would say. And now, although she has trouble remembering my name as her dementia worsens and she is hustled off to another nursing home - one with more security, more resources for those who stumble in the darkness, she remembers. The smell of bacon, a wiff of salt or the taste of a morning fog on her face and she smiles.
"Oh, remember that breakfast overlooking the ocean?" she coos. "It was the best breakfast I ever had." And then the moment is gone. She forgets. I remember.