I get flashes of understanding. I see the concern written all over your face and sometimes it makes sense for a moment before it vanishes. You try to hide that look from me but you can’t. It’s imprinted deep within your eyes even when you are smiling. You are worried for me and you are sad. You know I’m disappearing slowly in front of you. You know that it won’t be long before the only thing left of me will be a Cheshire-cat like smile floating thinly in the air above you.
I’m confused. Then, for a moment, everything comes back into focus. It’s as if I’ve been woken with a splash of cold water to my face, and I quickly try to make sense of it all. You are different now too I notice. You don’t speak to me like you used to. You don’t ask for my advice anymore or share your secrets. I begin to wonder what is wrong with you but then I understand. It hits me like a punch to the gut. It’s me. I’m not myself anymore; I’ve started to fade away.
I’m losing myself within my own mind and there is nothing I can do to stop it. My thoughts jumble together and so many things just don’t line up anymore. I will start a conversation with someone. Begin to tell them a story I think they will find interesting and then, half way through the conversation, I realize by the look on their face that they are embarrassed, that what I’ve said hasn’t made sense. I have to think fast. I have to pull the conversation back on track. Let them think that perhaps they just heard me wrong. I can pull it off sometimes but it’s getting harder and harder now. I’m fading away.
I’ve driven this road thousands and thousands of times. I drive this road to get groceries, go visit friends, go to the dentist, go for ice cream, go to the building supply, go for coffee…I don’t know where I’m going anymore. I know I’ve driven this road thousands of times before but how the hell do I get home from here? I can’t let anyone know I’m lost. Think damn it!
I’m putting my blood pressure pills into the days-of-the-week pill compartments. I see a pile of pills on the table. I take them all. That’s what I was supposed to do right? Why is everyone so upset? I did the right thing didn’t I? My head hurts and I feel a little nauseous.
My life has been full of laughter, some tears, great joy; you name it, the full gamut. I’ve lived a wonderful life and learned so much along the way but now it’s fading away. I’m fading away.
* NOTE: The above is a fictitious story. It’s just me imagining what it would be like to be entering the early stages of dementia. It’s not me…yet. 🙂