They often wondered if she was even there anymore and she could see it in their faces. It was hard on them, but it had been harder on her. She had watched her friends one by one succumb. At every bridge table someone would bring up the latest to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the nods of sympathy, which really only masked their own fear, would begin. It was like a domino effect around the table, the nodding one by one. The silent murmurs of “hope I’m not next”.
At first she though that she would escape, but then the little things started to happen to her as well. The misplacement of car keys, the slip in memory of a familiar name, the pattern was developing and the fear began to manifest. Soon she knew it was time, when she forgot how to get home from bridge club. How can anyone lose their house? She was becoming one of the “one by ones”.
There was the denial then the anger…. all the painful steps going thru all the diagnostic levels till she was gone… or so they thought. What they didn’t know, nobody did, was that she was still there, all of them, were still there. They couldn’t not speak, they could not express themselves, they could not even hint of their continued existence, but they were whole, just locked inside their own private worlds.
She wanted to tell them, it wasn’t so bad. The going thru it was the tough part, the not knowing scared the bejesus out of them all, which is why they fought so hard; but once they had totally surrendered to it, it took them to a place of peace and wonderful memories.
In that place they all were there. Those that had gone before her, one by one. Her friends and relatives, they were all waiting, so while those on the outside only saw an aged women in a wheelchair, with a glazed and lost look on her face, inside she was young and whole, again. On her bike, peddling the streets of Boston with her brothers, her hair flying in the breeze, a smile on her face as she headed out to relive the glory of her life.
She hoped even if they could not see it that they would perhaps feel the aura of her happiness as a lifetime of remembrance played before her eyes and continually lifted her soul.