Dad tried telling me the other day that Momma was due for some medical appointments. He assured me this with such clarity and conviction, I believed for a fleeting moment that time had turned back on itself. I pictured the paper calendar they used to keep. Imagined my father thumbing through it. In real time, however, in the next moment, he hung his head and confided that he’d been slipping, that he hadn’t kept up with her needs. He was visibly distraught upon letting me in on this. “She hasn’t seemed right lately. I’m worried about her. She is my heart and soul.” He barely got that last word out before grief choked back anything else he might have said. All this happened after a morning… I practically carried her to the breakfast table where he was already seated – her unruly frame falling into mine as I walked backwards toward her chair. He watched this happening but didn’t register the gravity of it all. His eyes fixated only on his love moving closer and filled with the same wonder that always glows from them whenever she is near. His heart, which my mother is the keeper of, overflowed into the room: “Good morning Mommy! Good morning my love!”
. . .
Imagine a pause as long as forever as silence settled around his effusions, while he stared at her expectantly, while she stared ahead. Or didn’t stare at all. The fog and haze obscurity of late stage Alzheimer’s stealing her vision. Something terrible is tearing at my chest. She is not ignoring him. It’s just that words mean nothing to her. She hears but she doesn’t hear. She sees but she doesn’t see. She’s alive but she’s dying. They both are. Every day.
. . .
I am sorry to have to put you through this. At the end of our story a death waits that you cannot keep at bay. We may put up a fight, but this match is rigged.
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