She called it a "Frontal Meningioma". About three weeks ago a woman came in to discuss cremation arrangements for her 79 year old mother.
At the time she explained that her mother had a tumor of sorts in her brain and it had caused her to have a stroke. She was residing in an assisted living facility and had been for the past three years. She was not expecting her death right now but felt this was a good time to discuss what would take place once she did.
She died 2 days ago and I met with the daughter and her husband again yesterday. This was not a tearful conference; as a matter of fact the daughter of the deceased proclaimed that she was happy her mother had passed. She went on to tell me that her mother would not have wanted to be alive in the current condition she was in. Since we had spoken she had yet another stroke which left her completely immobile.
We were talking about her mothers condition when she said something that caught my attention. Apparently, her mother, before her diagnosed illness was a very staunch, prim and proper woman who barely cracked a smile even though she was a kind person. She had always professed to her daughter that boisterousness was not something a man would be attracted to; not ladylike. She was proud of the fact that she had always maintained composure no matter what the situation, she was in fact a true "southern" lady.
The doctors had explained the type of tumor to the daughter and further explained that where it was located could and probably would affect her personality. According to the daughter, as this tumor grew, her mother became a different person. The once highly polished lady became what her daughter considered " a dirty little child " overnight. She would think nothing of telling the crudest jokes at the most inopportune moments. All of a sudden she thought belching and farting as loud as possible, anywhere, was hysterical. She would point and outwardly make fun of people everywhere they went, she would say things like "look at the size of that woman's fat ass" or "she needs to put a bra on, her tits are at her belly" - LOUD! She also got into the habit of randomly pinching men and none of this bothered her mother at all; she loved it! Quite honestly, as she was telling me this I was inwardly laughing, picturing this 79 year old woman asking the deli man to pull her finger or asking him to turn around so she could squeeze his butt!
After all was said, done and signed and they had left my office I was sitting there doing paperwork when I thought to myself "where did this all come from?". Was it possible that just a small change in our brains cell structure could alter a personality so greatly? Or was all of this pent up inside of her, latent, just waiting for the chance to let itself loose? Does this mean that one persons brain is capable of anything if just tweaked a bit? Does this mean that each of us has the capacity to be a genius or a rapist or a stand up comic or crazy old lady? If that's the case what makes us who we are? Are we all predestined to be "us" from the time our brain first forms? Does this mean that we have no control over what we do because we're already pre-programmed for a life that we will never know until it happens? Who the hell knows.
I'll tell you though, invariably, every time I sit down with someone to make arrangements, no matter how mundane it may seem at first I always end up walking away shaking my head wondering about something; sometimes giggling inside at the same time!