Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Every week I visit the local nursing home.  I sit with Frank, a World War II vet, and read him sports scores.  I bring Sister Rita cookies, and I sit and talk to a woman named Mary, who has Alzheimer's.  Each person enjoys my company and is glad that I stop by to tell a story.

For the past half year, I've noticed that the light has gone out of Mary's eyes.  It has been a slow process, as with other people who have this disease.  I've heard it called the "long goodbye", and I can understand where that came from.  It is a long and torturous process.

When I first met Mary, I used to sit with her and tell her stories about my husband and son.  She always gave a big smile when I walked into the room, especially when I walked in with Derek.  She knew who I was, she asked about my family, and enjoyed our conversations.  I looked forward to seeing her every week.

Now, things have changed.  Lately, Mary has been on pain medication, which makes her sleepy.  When I walk in the room, she does not who I am, and conversation is one-sided.  Sometimes, it is almost like I am looking into her eyes and she does not see me, almost like she's somewhere else.  It probably is the pain medication, but without it, she would be miserable.  

My only comfort is that once in a while, she does smile, and sometimes she does recognize me.  It does not happen that often, but if I can make my friend smile, it is worth it.