Ultimate Zen

–Where are we?
–No, where are we?
–New Jersey. It’s winter.
–We might as well be in Minneapolis.

This snippet of conversation took place almost daily. Living with no memory is the ultimate Zen. Diane was almost always in the present moment, for she had little recollection of anything else. If I reminded her of things in her past, sometimes she recalled them, sometimes not. The details were almost never remembered—just the hazy outline.

Diane would respond if I talked to her, but seldom initiated conversation unless she was worried about something. If the weather was bad, she would ask if the girls (Jennifer and Lauren) were at home, where they were working, and whether they got home safely. Usually she would ask the same question several times, until she felt calm enough to leave it alone.