Yesterday my youngest grandchild celebrated her second birthday - albeit half way around the world in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to the modern wonders of GMail Chat she and I were able to say "I love you". A dear friend who has already fought and won the cancer battle on two fronts has been nail-chewing waiting for results of a recent biopsy. "All clear" she shouted from the rooftops. Good events, joyful messages, promises of a future.
Some time ago I wrote of a neighbor and his wife who stop by in the evenings to let their dog play with my critter. I've been gone most of the Summer and I recently ran into him at the neighborhood coffee shop."How are you ?" I asked. "Terrible", he said. "I've never felt more lonely and sad in my life as I do now". His wife, who celebrated her ( although I suppose celebration takes some interpretation now) 74th. birthday this week has finally succumbed to a stage of alzheimer' s disease that has necessitated she be placed in a home. They have been married 50 years. His loss is overwhelming. "I don't care about anything now" he told me.
I called him yesterday to come on over and have a glass of wine, don't be alone. We talked as the dogs played. "You never knew her before this happened". He described a vibrant woman, athletic, super mom, community activist. "And now, when I go to visit, she doesn't know me."
What a cruel and brutal disease. It's robbed two lives of joy. There's nothing I could say to him. In many ways losing my husband to cancer was easier to bear. There was an end.
I watched a movie trying to understand more the impact of alzheimer's on the survivor - Away From Her - hard to take but I'm glad I sat through it.
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