I’ve been really tired recently. I couldn’t get out of bed last Tuesday, stayed under the covers five minutes after my 7 a.m. alarm, had to force myself to crawl out of bed, and about 30 minutes later when I sat down to eat my soft boiled egg and toast, I discovered I’d forgotten to put on my glasses. I’d walked around the kitchen for at least half-an-hour without realizing I wasn’t seeing clearly?
Later at work my itchy face alerted me to the fact that I’d forgotten to put face cream on after my shower. I laughed along with my co-workers when one of them suggested early signs of dementia, but at home that evening we received an email from our friend Mac, who lives in Canada, and I didn’t find it funny anymore.
Mac wrote that on Remembrance Day (as Veterans Day is called in Canada), his wife, our dear friend Sally, who was “gifted” [hah!] with Early-onset Alzheimer‘s [an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than age 65] when she was only fifty-two, and has been struggling with the awful disease for eleven years, was finally admitted to a long-term care home.
an excerpt from his email:
Even those of you who’ve seen Sally quite recently will be shocked that things have come this far, this suddenly. Our months of rehab were getting her more and more back on her feet and she was starting to talk again.. when suddenly on Hallowe’en she had two whopping seizures that have left her curled-up, trembling and speechless… I and my four hired girls just couldn’t stay ahead of her advancing infirmity any more.
Sally’s smiling; I’m crying – that’s okay, I’ve had a lot of years to learn how to cry about this damned thing…“
Not fair! Oh god it’s not fair! Gentle, thoughtful, kind Sally – excellent cook, lover of art, music, literature [always ready to recommend a good book to a friend], keen gardener, and bird watcher [hardly ever outside without binoculars round her neck], world traveller [Mr F and I went to Belize in ’98 because Sally and Mac loved the beautiful country, and it’s amazing wildlife so much] – dear friend, I send you much love and many warm hugs across the miles, can you hear me through your brain fog and my tears?
Mac told me that Sally still enjoys listening to Kate and Anna McGarrigle.