My mother has Alzheimer’s and needs more care from her husband and me. As her only daughter, I visit at least one day a week, and take her to church where she meets with old friends and feels at home. Our roles are reversed, as I now guide her through the halls and help her remember her items and her friends. One day I arrived at my parent’s home to get her ready for church. We would chose a nice dress, some accessories, and work on her hair-do. This time, though, as I walked through the door, she called out, “Hi Jeffrey! How are you?!” Jeffery is my older brother. I had a quick stab of loss, of being utterly alone, and of emotional disequilibrium. Though she often forgets things, and repeats things, never before did she lose her memory of my name. I realized, as I began helping her with her dress, that we were starting the process of saying a very long, and very loving, goodbye.
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