Today we go to the supermarket as we normally do during weekends. As we go round the aisles, mom tries to help, sometimes holding the trolley steady. She tugs a plastic bag off the roll and struggles to peel it’s mouth open. Here, you go, she passes it to me. At times, she hovers around, eyes upon my back… to see where I will go… and follows. She scans the shelves when I do, so much to look at. She doesn’t offer suggestions, makes no comment of what she would like to eat. She walks quite well considering, but with small hesitant steps.
When did we first notice that something was not quite right? It happened very gradually, over the years. Probably just in the last 2-3 years. I notice conversations became much simpler, her garden more straggly, and then there’s the hoarding. Old books, old newspapers, and rolls and rolls of unopened toilet paper. Why don’t you get rid of the newspaper, I asked her, pointing to the 2 four foot stacks just inside her front door. Oh the price is not right, she says.
Conversations became extremely short. How’s your work? Is it difficult? And often she would just recite the headline of the day. Do you know, it’s terrible what happened, in spain, in china, in that place, that time. A few months ago, I discovered she has forgotten my birthyear, and forgot that I am her eldest child. She argued briefly, then gave up the conversation.
But usually she hides it well, acquaintances do not realise anything is wrong. Even family finds it hard to remember not to rely on what she says.