Once upon a time there was a special woman – a role model, a feminist before her time, proud, super intelligent, often prickly, sometimes aloof, observant, interesting , with plenty to say.
What happened to her?
Easy to spout platitudes about ageing, hard to ignore reality of the awful slide to oblivion.
She sits on someone else’s couch in the stranger’s living room with a vacant smile on her face.
She peers at you with a question – do I know you? Who are you? It’s been a long time since I saw you – you look great – who are you?
Her eyes take on an anxious view – grasping some deep buried thought hidden behind her still pretty face and lying intelligent eyes.
What is it – do you have to go to the bathroom?
Not sure you summon a caregiver and painfully slowly the aunt stands with the gentle tug and firm hand of her helper.
She returns with the same vacant smile and settles back to the same vacant conversation.
She is real, this is real. This will not get better.
Next to her throughout the visit, throughout their life
His hand grasping hers
Pain in his eyes.