It’s always hard to watch those you love grow old.
People slow down, and are unable to do some of the things that they used to enjoy doing.
But they find new interests in the things that they are still able to do.
The worst part though, is watching someone’s mind shift to opaque.
One day, conversation flows smoothly, their mind is clear, and the words come in the right order.
Then slowly, the windows of their mind begins to fog.
Maybe a name is forgotten, or an appointment is missed.
And you chalk it up to being busy or stressed. Or someone makes a joke about old age, and the memory being the first to go.
But no one believes it’s anything serious.
And then more disappears.
There is a marked disinterest in doing much of anything, because the details of how to do it are fuzzy.
You hear the question, “Did we eat lunch yet today?” only 15 minutes after leaving the dining room.
Conversations judder and halt, because details are forgotten, even in stories that have been told a million times.
The windows of the mind are looking more like doors than windows. They’ve turned a solid colour, and no one seems to have a light that is bright enough to shine through them.
Suddenly though, you realize that there are flashes that you didn’t notice before.
You were so busy noticing the fogging up of the mind that you didn’t see that it isn’t always completely opaque.
Did you ever try to look through a 2-way mirror?
When I was little, Aldi had a 2-way mirror between the office and the bagging counter.
My sister and I would go up to the mirror and try to see through it to see if anyone was inside.
We learned that if we cupped our hands around our faces, and cut out the bright light on our side of the glass, we could see through to the other side.
That’s similar to how it is when you learn that someone you love is in the beginning stages of dementia.
First, you see that their mind is getting foggy. You try to ignore it. Like wiping Windex on an old mirror that is starting to get spots on the inside, between the glass and the silver part. The Windex doesn’t do much, but it makes you feel good. Just like pushing the person to eat healthier, or do sudoku.
The fog continues to get worse, and you try to pretend it isn’t there. You say that maybe the person hasn’t been sleeping well, and they’ll get back to normal.
Then the brain seems to go entirely opaque, and you panic. You’ve lost that person, and there’s nothing you can do. They’re standing right in front of you, but you can tell that no one is home.
Until you take the time to learn what it takes for you to see through the two-way mirror.
Is it music?
Is it old stories?
Is it taking a dog for a visit?
It may be different in each case, but keep trying until you learn what the key is in your situation. If you love someone, it’s worth the time.