There they sit, Adeline, wheelchair bound; and Jerry, hearing impaired. Watching the two of them bicker back and forth, pulls the outer corners of my mouth into a smile, for sometimes I wonder if Jerry’s thankful to be able to turn the hearing aid off and silence his wife for a while. Adeline, whom you’d imagine was a touch crazy, has still got it; diagnosed with dementia hasn’t held a candle to her living out her life. Full of zeal and gumption, this woman at the tender age of 89, still hasn’t lost all her marbles.
“You have a pretty face” she says, I smile and glance away; Jerry states “You know she’s right about that”, leaving me to feel embarrassed, Adeline seeks the last words, “but we all know no one prettier than I”. If truth we’re a turn table this woman would be spinning it, and if blunt were a name tag; she’s already worn it.
The interesting part about dementia is that most types are nonreversible (degenerative). Nonreversible meaning the changes in the brain that are causing the dementia cannot be stopped or turned back.
Adeline every so often looks up at Mark (her son) and says; “who the heck re you?” Laughing, he always replies with “oh ma, you’re going to miss me one of these days”. Not being able to remember your children; not able to remember where you are and how you got there, not remembering the year, day, date, or time: Adeline always remembers one thing, and that’s Jerry.
I sit, inspired, at the spectacle of the two people in front of me who have been together for 60 years, experienced life and all its twists and turns side by side in this roller coaster; Adeline not remembering much of it, she never gets frustrated; or down on herself. Instead she turns to my dad and says “You’ve got quite a lovely wife, love her the way Jerry loves me and you two will be alright”
Jerry struggling to ascend and amble, follows his wife being wheeled to the dinner table for a Christmas feast, leans over, grasps her hand and watches while her smile takes over all other emotions on her worn face.
Even when all memories have left you, Love will keep us alive.