Love in the Time of Alzheimer's

It creeps in slowly and tactfully, systematically erasing the images and memories that make up the scrapbook of your life.

It floods your foundation causing deep cracks and crevices and it crawls into the well lit tunnels that send messages that guide you in how to chew, swallow, speak, walk and think and it darkens them with its filthy dirt.

It confuses, mystifies and destroys. It holds you hostage and when your loved ones try to free you, it throws you into solitary confinement - no trial, no jury, just a corrupt judge, hammer down on an iron table.

Yet day in, day out, they return hoping to find a trace of you.

They need to do something that makes them feel like they are doing something. So they brush your hair, rub lotion on your arms and back, buy you new slippers. They nurture and nourish you with your favourite food that they prepare when they return home because they can't sleep and they need to feel like they are doing something, anything that may make a difference - perhaps bring back a speck of memory or a smile to your face.

There are others - so many others. Some are bedridden, others are mobile. Family members are worn yet they draw alliances; together they speak of what was and they share their anger, their sorrow over cups of coffee in a stale lit room at the end of the hall.

They look for signs - a gesture, a shift in the eyes, a blink, a whisper, a deep breath. They would give years of their lives for one day with you.

But they won't get that day because Alzheimer's robs minds, souls, life and all of its treasures. It takes husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers.

It's a professional heist in an art gallery filled with beautiful, precious, adorned paintings. Entire canvasses are removed, trimmed and rolled up leaving nothing but the frame.

It's a daily battle between two sides - one conquers while the other vanishes. It's a family photo that fades like a curtain in the sun and there is no restoration.

Alzheimer's is everyones enemy.

It's an enemy in waiting.

And every soul it takes is one soul too many.

Alzheimer's is a THIEF.

Change of Seasons - Give me a break will ya - that and a palm tree

This change of Seasons is always a shock to the system. I mean really, give me a break! I can't get out of bed in the morning. I want to eat everything in the kitchen including the fridge and stove. I am homesick. I want to move back in with my parents and play in the park with my friends and come in for a nice, warm dinner that I didn't have to prepare.

I want recess. I demand milk, cookies and my flannel blanket for 30 minutes per day as a break from my work. I want to be 15 and have a boyfriend who is 17. I want him to "neck" with me and let me wear his jacket.

I want to skip class and have a crush on one of my teachers. I want to see that teacher in the grocery store and be amazed that he goes to a grocery store and he is human and he exists outside of school. I want to call my friends and talk on the phone for hours because the phone is all we have. I want to see my friends instead of texting them. I want a slumber party where everyone sleeps at a house other than mine. I want us to make popcorn and smoke my grandfather's pipe and call our favourite boys and hang up because their is no caller ID.

I want to know why it's so dark out so much earlier and why we change the time - I mean really, isn't life difficult enough?

I want to understand why on earth I live in a freezing cold climate. I know I will be asking myself this during the first snowstorm when I am wet and freezing and tired of snow banks and ice and looking like I have turned a new shade of green.

I want soup. I mean real homemade chicken soup with chicken and stuff that is real.

I want a heated, covered dome thing that I can walk my dog under in the wiinter.

I want to get up quickly when I go flying on my behind on the ice so that the people passing in their cars who have witnessed this occurance; know that I am alright and that when I fall, I get back up (and this is way too long a sentence).

Do you remember walking home after playing at a friends house and it was late winter and the sky was a solid, slick blue? As you made your way past the many doors to yours, you could smell the commingling (word?) of everyone's meals.

My mother was and still is a great cook. I would walk into the vestibule and crispy honey chicken with roasted potatoes would call me to the table. We would all sit together, eat, talk, argue, laugh and looking back, I am saddened by the stark reality that we will never all be together again - the 5 of us.

Be brave my fellow Montrealers - Grab your soup, your slippers and your blanket and drift gently into the falling snow that is about to kick you in the ass.