Up to about a month or so ago she was still driving which alarmed me greatly. I kept in touch with her son and another friend of hers who checked on her regularly.
Then a few weeks ago she wasn't answering her phone and her son found her on the floor of her living room with a massively swollen right leg.
He sprung into action. Got her to the hospital (she had blood clots) and immediately arranged for her to be admitted to a care facility. A very fancy care facility. Unaffordable to most but it turns out he's one of those quiet millionaires (real estate, stock market). Her house is worth a lot but he hasn't seen the need to sell it yet. She is very fortunate.
I call her once a week and enter her brand new world. She surprises me with her sharpness at times, asks about my writing, wants to hear all about the workshop but I'm very much in the now with her. All short term memory is wiped as with a blackboard eraser from her mind within a very short length of time.
It humbles me. She speaks of her surroundings - a chandelier in her room, a brand new TV screen installed by her son, a selection of framed pictures and photos from her former home. She laughs. "I wouldn't have chosen any of these myself" and she describes them to me. Her leg is shrinking. And she's walking the halls.
Every floor is carpeted - a long cry from most "care" homes. It's like a luxurious hotel" she says. A privilege denied to many. And she knows it. She is incredibly grateful to her son who stepped up to the plate, so to speak. Their sometimes fractious past long forgotten.
It's extraordinarily peaceful talking to her for about 45 minutes every week. We are very much in the now. I never question her. Even asking her about dinner would be stressful but now and again she'll talk about the menu and I am astonished at the choices on offer and her memory in recalling the items - a long list.
She asks me to give her some memories which I do. Trip to Ireland, trip to New Brunswick, a couple of trips to Newfoundland and to her parents when they were alive, weekend retreats, volunteer community work we shared. She delights in each memory recalled for her.
"My grandson has my car!" she suddenly announces to me.
"You loved that car!" I answer.
"It was time," she says, "I'm OK with not driving again."
I am profoundly affected by this. She adored driving. And knew far more than I about cars.
I dread the day she forgets me but right now when I call her, she is bowled over with love for me. As I am for her.