goodbye

index-002To three who caught my inner eye in Mom’s world this past year at an Alzheimer’s unit. [I moved my mother a few days ago to skilled nursing.]

Goodbye, Ruth, silver hair pulled back in a ponytail, pacing the circle the halls make, eternally looking for your husband. He’s late, darn him. I’ll give him a piece of my mind when I see him, you bet ya. Have you seen my husband? Where is that stinker? From somewhere up north in the center of the U.S., a schoolteacher I think I remember her saying. Quiet. Dogged. Determined.

Goodbye, Peggy, once an interior designer, mannered and southern to your core, kind and thin and nervous as a whippet, dressed beautifully, but more and more showing the ravage, dark lipstick spilling over outlines of lip, roots showing in dyed hair. Talking full sentences which make absolutely no sense. Well, the beans didn’t come in. They were red, you know. We tried. Did you see him? I told him it wouldn’t work. Lovely. Loquacious. Flailing.

Goodbye, Kay, whom I think of as my ghost. Vampire pale, clothes always mussed, a limp, standing in place marching or out everywhere endlessly walking with that uneven pace, latching onto people with your hand, following me, taking my arm and bumpily gliding along with me, in silence, never, ever speaking. Sometimes a fleeting smile. Eerie. Odd. Lost.

The last sight of my three is Kay draped as she is when she isn’t walking, foot forever shaking, across a couch and beyond her, Ruth and Peggy, hand in hand, tentatively heading to the lunchroom, Peggy pushing at any opening that resembles a door.

My ghost, my whippet, my schoolteacher from the extraordinary madhouse that is Alzheimer’s.

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9 responses to “goodbye

  1. Moving and strong tribute about these 3 ladies who left this world owned by Alzheimer…

  2. A cruel disease that keeps our angels behind a fence, letting us look in but keeping them from looking out.

  3. I see them walking hand in hand and I remember Dorothy. Thank you.

  4. My heart goes out to you and yours….. God bless you. jmm

  5. Gorgeous and stunning truths in your writing……you inspire me so!!!!

  6. Pingback: My Gratitude List: 12 Items, Girdles Not Included | To write is to write is to write

  7. I visited my mom in the “memory care unit” during Christmas. The staff refused to say anyone there had Alzheimers, preferring memory care or dementia.
    My mom is the one who wondered where her husband was, and sometimes cussed him, and sometimes thought I was him. She’s also one of the few who can carry on a sensible conversation. And she has great hair and my sister keeps her in nice clothes.
    A lady who last summer kept repeating the last sentence she heard was completely silent.
    Another lady constantly walked around. I tried to engage her but when she spoke her voice was so soft I could not hear her.
    A lady at my mother’s dinner table looked fine, but not a single sentence she uttered made sense.
    I was captivated by one lady. She was thin, sad. She spent her time bent over, studying and pawing her wheelchair’s right arm. Her fingers were long and dainty. Her cheekbones high, her nose perfectly formed. In her youth she must have been the belle of the ball. Now she was alone, and I was the only one even to notice her.
    When I talked with family members of other residents, the conversation was about what their parent (usually) or spouse liked or did well in their prime.

  8. I miss your entries

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