Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Saturday, October 3, 2015


We went to a memorial service for my friend Nancy, who used to live at Atria, today.  In her brief time at Atria, my mother once called her her "best friend," though she didn't realize that she lived just 2 doors from her own apartment, and never knew her name.  She died a couple of months ago, in an Alzheimers facility in Sacramento, at age 90.  As I sat there watching a slide show and listening to everyone's memories, I was left with a profound sense of sadness.

"Effervescent" was the word that many people used to describe Nancy.  And it fits her to a "t".  I don't think I have seen a picture of her when she wasn't smiling a broad smile or laughing with whoever she was with.  She's had her share of sadness, including a failed marriage and the death of an adult child, but she has taken it all, including her worsening mental problems, with grace, humor and laughter.  

She had many hobbies and activities, loved to interact with people.

I would like to be able to say any one of those things about the woman who looks like my mother, but who sits in a chair day after day looking at leaves. We will soon go through the months where she complains that the trees are bare.  She has brief flashes of interest if someone comes to visit, but it's all new for the visitor and they don't see her nearly every day the way I do.

I would like a smile, a joke, a laugh, an interest in ANYTHING outside the damn leaves and whether the wind is moving them or not.

Effervescent she is definitely not.

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