A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Eternity

Mesa Temple 2


Elizabeth Willis Barrett

Just when I thought there was no more to write about, I did something stupendous–stupendously stupid.  I feel the capillaries in my face enlarge and a pink glow begins in my neck and travels up to my hairline when I think about it.  I’m hoping the writing of the incident will help me let it go and march forward into sanity, although that may be impossible.

Since my Dad had Alzheimer’s for seven years before it finally took him, and my mother had dementia that made her life and those who loved her miserable for a couple of rough years, keeping my mind throughout a long life doesn’t seem too probable.  However, each of my parents had siblings who lived well into their 90’s with tarp as a shack–whoops! I mean sharp as a tack–minds.  I have been counting on following those with the healthy minds since some of their DNA belongs to me.  But what I did was so crazy that the insanity road seems more likely.

Here goes:

We attended a beautiful wedding ceremony in the Mesa, Arizona, LDS Temple on Saturday.  While there we saw many friends who belong to one huge wonderful family who were attending a different wedding.  Because of the sacredness of the Temple, we are asked to take off our shoes and put on little white socks to go into the sealing rooms.  It was a crowded day and the cubbyholes that hold the set-aside shoes were quite full, but I found a place for my long black boots and a cubbyhole for my black coat.  I even put my name by each which I usually don’t take time to do.  I put on the provided socks and felt a great spirit of love and peace as I witnessed the Temple Wedding.  Had I known what I was about to do, I would have stayed in the sealing room for a long time.

After the ceremony, I needed to go to the bathroom before the ride home, so quickly went to where my boots and coat should have been.  I couldn’t see them.  Hmmmm.  I did see a black short coat in one of the cubbies and thought someone had selfishly moved my coat to make room for her things.  I grabbed it and put it on and in a bottom cubby were some black boots.

“Wow, people were being insensitive,” I thought, “moving my things around like that.”  On went the boots and into the bathroom went I.

While in the bathroom I felt a phone in a pocket of the coat and realized it was in an inside pocket.  I didn’t even know my coat had an inside pocket.  I pulled out the phone and saw that it wasn’t mine.  I had someone else’s coat!  I was mortified.

Just as I told a friend that I had taken the wrong coat, the coat’s owner–another young and beautiful friend–came toward me with my coat.  Thankfully, she was very understanding as I told her that I thought I was the only one who had worn a coat in 60 degree weather!  She showed me my name that I had placed with my coat.  That made me ponder.  If my name was with my coat, was my name also with my boots?  There in a bottom cubby were a pair of long black boots and alongside them was my name.  I was wearing someone else’s boots, too!

By this time I was surrounded by a group of laughing friends so I couldn’t nonchalantly take off the boots and replace them with my own.  They all knew that I had taken not only someone else’s coat, but someone else’s boots as well.

“Your boots are round toed and the others are square toed,” someone gently pointed out.  I have never been a stickler for detail, obviously.

The laughter continued–in a Temple-like way–but my own laughter was a bit hysterical.  Dementia?  Had it started already?

I can hardly breathe as I relate this story because that mishap took a walloping chunk of promise out of my future.  What other imbecilic things am I going to do before the last fragments of my life are over?

In one of my next essays, I am going to instruct my children on how to take care of their aging, demented mother.  They’d better read it!


13 comments on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Eternity

  1. Dana says:

    Delightful! And, oh, how familiar….

  2. Dana–I’m so glad I’m not the only one this might happen to because I am feeling very vulnerable!

  3. Alonna says:

    Liz, this sounds just like something I would do! Last week I dropped my cell phone in the dishwasher… and sent it through a cycle! Now THAT is dementia! Thanks for sharing your ‘humanness’ with all of us! Loved it! Love, Alonna

  4. I feel as tho I’ve found a kindred spirit, and thanks for liking my crossingseventy.wordpress.com blog as well.

    • I am so glad to have a blog to hang my writing on. We have a writing group with just four of us. One day we plan on sitting in an English countryside and getting some inspiration. How satisfying that you have made your Italian retreat happen!

      • Dee Montalbano says:

        How about joining me in June to write in the beautiful walled city of Lucca, Italy? Can”t beat it for inspiration! See contact form on crossingseventy.wordpress.com.

      • That would be wonderful and I would enjoy it immensely. But I would have to bring my husband who goes everywhere with me and I think that would change the spirit of it. Some day I would love to travel to Italy. This year we are going to China because one of our daughters lives there with her husband and 4 kids. One major trip a year is my limit!

      • I completely understand, Elizabeth. Have a wonderful trip to China. Speaking of coincidences, the daughter of an Italian friend of mine is living in China with her husband and four kids!

      • That would be great if my daughter and your friend’s daughter knew each other! Guess that is asking too much of coincidences!

  5. I don’t think you’re demented. :). Not yet anyway. On bust days things can get confusing for everyone, but I am glasnost was a beautiful wedding.

  6. saffybug says:

    I’m loving reading your blog – Going to take me a while to read it all with baby in tow but love getting a cuppa and having a settle down to have a read when she has a nap 🙂 xxx

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