I have been helping an old friend moving to a home for elderly and disabled people. Yesterday I helped her packing up the last things and putting everything into place. We went through all her paintings as well, to see how many she could use on the new walls and where to put them up. And the rest…I do not know…
She has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. Once she was so smart, sharp tounge and vivid mind and memory. She was even a candidate for a TV prize contest. These last three years…she has been losing everything…and now she can no longer manage on her own. She was also a famous dog breeder for 30 years and won international as well as national fame. Her last dog she could no longer take enough care of, so two weeks ago we went together to the veterinary to put him to sleep. Tough on her and tough on me.
This is so sad, the whole situation. So many people suffer from this disastrous disease. And my old friend has no family, no children – only a half brother. And they have not got along the last 20 years.
She has nobody – but me. Luckily, the last two years she has found a good friend in a new neighbour coming over with some food and cookies – and sometimes some company. I am so glad she is there, as I live 60 kilometres away and cannot visit every day.
When I came up the stairs, she met me with a weak smile – ”I don’t like it here, they are all numb and dumb…cannot speak or understand what I’m saying”. She moved in two weeks ago, after we had been working hard to get her this apartment as she was so alone and needed company in order to eat properly and function socially. She had help four times a day and got food and cleaning as well.
”They are not kind to me here”, she says. ”I want to move.”
We have known each other for 40 years. Now I am searching for my old friend behind those gentle eyes…but I’m afraid she might no longer be there.