|This morning's sunrise on the hike I always made my friend take with me when she visited. She would humorously complain the entire time until we finished with a latte from Dutch Brothers.|
She began asking simple questions, repeatedly with no recollection of having ask the same thing just a few minutes earlier. Even hearing the answer over and over didn't trigger her memory. At one visit, each time she ask me where I got my sweater, I asked if she recalled having ask me that earlier. Even though her declining short term memory was frightening for us both, her sense of humor showed when from then on she began saying after every question, "I already asked you that, right?" followed by a gale of laughter.
We had many conversations about what her future looked like after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. At first she insisted it wasn't true but there was no denying the scan that showed her brain beginning to atrophy. She was angry with many people. She was resentful and depressed at times. She was upset when the woman who coordinated the local Alzheimer's Association told her there would be a day when she would not be able to find her car in the parking lot of the grocery store. She talked with me about what this would mean as she aged. She obsessed about where she would live, what would happen to her dog and how she would spend her days, afraid of not knowing what was going on around her. All I could say was "You are my friend. I will be there. I will hold your hand and make you laugh like we did in college".
Today I was there as her future became the present. I held her hand and tried my best to make her laugh but it wasn't what we had pictured years ago when she first learned of her disease. Tears ran down my face as I watched her struggling, drifting in and out of sleep. It seemed best to tell her the story of her life as I knew it, about how we met in college and the crazy things we did and how hard we laughed, how our lives evolved with each other through
|The sunset from the deck where my friend and I sat many times|