Monday, June 25, 2018

Variations on the Melody of Love. Part 2

The fireplace at the cabin in New Brunswick which heard much of our shared history.

See Part 1 here.

I quickly become accustomed to repeating information, very gently, very softly. Always current information.

But our past memories are easily accessible and validated.

Odd questions are thrown at me:

"How are the neighbours around here? Have you gotten to know them?"

"Do you like your neighbours?"

I'm a type A personality so appreciate this rather rapid descent into tolerance and patience. Lessons are valuable no matter how I learn them.

I take charge of the driving and mealtimes and quickly realize that entering any new establishment at odd times like 3 o'clock in the afternoon is a signal to her that dinner is soon so I avoid such afternoon introductions of new places.

At night, I begin to read to her a novel I am editing, but realize that her retention of memory from the night before of what transpired has now evaporated.

I am mindful of her mother, laughing like a child, remarkably aware, who descended rapidly into dementia, saying that now she read the first page of a new book over and over as it was always fresh to her.

I abandon this endeavour on the 3rd night and she never remarks on the absence of this activity.

Instead we talk, of her family and mine (mine are re-introduced, she'd forgotten my siblings even though she met them a few times). Her clarity on her own family is superb, including the distance she maintains from a fraudulent and abusive sibling. Our common friendships are relived and savoured. Our past relationships and erstwhile partners are evaluated with hindsight, wisdom and laughter. She even proffers some startling new (to me) information on a former husband that she has previously withheld.

She is very kind to me, even though I have to repeat, gently, my health challenges just about daily to her. I carry my cane to reinforce this with her. And it works.

"Tell me again what's wrong with you?" she says every morning, with such deep concern and compassion and love. I slowly explain about my PVD as if for the first time every time.

A frightening panic-filled moment comes when we leave a historic market place on the fourth day of our holiday.

"Somebody stole my car, where's my car? What are we going to do?" she wanders around the parking lot very upset.

"It's OK,"I say,"You know what? I think I drove today. Look for a sapphire blue car!"

"Oh my God, of course that's it! You drove today!"

I drive every day we're together.

But unbeknownst to me, the miracle is waiting just around the corner.

See Part 3 here.


  1. obviously love this friend very much to be so patient and so kind, knowing that she is slipping away. Should I live to be an old woman, I hope I have at least one friend like you around...

  2. It's hard when you realise what really has happened - proof there in front of your eyes. I'm reliving time with my aunt, not all that many years ago. Witnessing an almost daily decline. Manoeuvring the twists and turns of her scrambled way of thinking......and mine
    I'm looking forward to your new revelation - one fine day when things seem 'normal' maybe?

  3. My father had dementia. I remember the time I spent with him then as precious, like a kind of meditation. It was like a time out of time, not knowing where we were in time until he spoke, then following him there. He was slowly disengaging from our world of sequential time. Sometimes it was frightening, like when he panicked when he didn't know where Mom was, then it was 'all hands on deck' to calm him down. But Mom said later that the last two weeks of his life were the best two weeks of their entire marriage.

  4. I echo e above...may we all be blessed with such good friends.

  5. As you may recollect Urmeela had attacks of dementia and we were joined at the hips to avoid embarrassments which included her getting lost when out for a walk till a colleague rescued her by telephoning me. In a way, her infirmity strengthened our bonds and I am grateful for the opportunity that it gave me to be with her.

  6. This is riveting and tender. Thank you for sharing this experience. Xx

  7. This is touching to read. I'm 67 and my best life friend died three years ago this July. We've been friends since I was 21 and she was 39. Reading this is reminding me how much I miss seeing her and talking to her. She was so damn smart and had a wonderful memory of her large, Irish family that settled in South Dakota (I'm from Kansas). Also very political so I'd give anything to hear her reaction to DJT being "president."

    Waiting for your next installment...

  8. I read parts 1 and 2 together. It's so good that you have been able to take this vacation together while your friend is still "with you" - at least for part of the time. What a brave and lovely experience, WWW!

  9. The kind and loving manner of your days is inspiring. Validation is the term that came to mind. e is spot on, as we so often put ourselves in others' shoes. Kim in PA (USA)

  10. Can't wait to read about the miracle.


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