Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I just got off the phone

With someone who doesn't recognise me anymore--at least today, who parroted, 'hi, Lisa' like a child would, and to whom all I could think to say is, 'I love you', in case it penetrated.

When my great-grandmother's mind went via Alzheimer's, it was such a slow progression that we adjusted along the way to the reality before us.

A month ago this person not only knew who I was, she was offended that anyone might think she didn't. Now she doesn't recognise anyone, really. They're talking hospice. We're coming to the end, and I need to learn to let go, I know, but it's so hard, especially given that this person took care of me when I was small, opened her doors to me when I was a teenager, and has been part of the majority of my life. She and I have butted heads over the years, but I love her more deeply than I realised until I heard her just now. I'm glad I got to see her before she came to this, but it breaks my heart, as I know it must be breaking others, to see her this way. She always hoped she wouldn't lose her mind. I guess we all do. I don't think she ever planned to live this long past her husband, but until very recently she's been pretty independent and doing pretty well. I guess it's better to go downhill quickly, even if it's harder in some ways, than to linger in a sort of half-life between the worlds for years. The time of our deaths is determined by the Fates, of course. But I think the best thing one can do is hope for a good life, and a good death, and love those around us while they're here.

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