We All Forget From Time to Time, Don't We?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story from the book "Crack in the Mirror"

 

She used to be vibrant, animated and full of fun. Her smile was contagious. She loved people and surrounded herself with those who embraced life to the fullest. Then slowly she began to forget. It started with just little things; things you wouldn't really notice or find alarming. After all, we all forget from time to time, don't we? She'd forget to take her keys out of the door or she'd set her coffee down and forget where she put it. As her memory got worse, she'd forget the food in the oven or wouldn't remember to feed her goldfish. But, we all forget from time to time, don't we? Her dog was constantly hungry because she couldn't remember if she'd fed him or not. Then, one day she stopped at a red light briefly, only to drive right through it with no explanation. She couldn't get out of a locked restroom because she couldn't remember how to unlock the door. It was time to take Evelyn to see her doctor. 

As we sat in the waiting room, Evelyn stared blankly at the floor. She fumbled nervously with the strap of her purse as she tried to come to grips with what was happening. What could she be thinking? After a series of tests and a few more visits to a specialist, I took her in for her diagnosis. We sat in the doctor's office in silence. What could I say to ease her anxiety, for I too was anxious? We sat in that tiny room for what seemed like hours. "I hope they haven't forgotten us" I said to Evelyn with a nervous chuckle. "We all forget from time to time, don't we?" Evelyn muttered. 

Soon, the doctor knocked lightly on the door and entered with a slight look of trepidation. "What we have," he began, "is the beginning of Alzheimer's." Alzheimer's . ALHEIMER'S! The word stung my ears and bounced off the cold, metal table. Alzheimer's, the death sentence of the mind; the disease that would seize my friend's thoughts and soon imprison every facet of her being. Poor Evelyn. She began to cry. Her tears were slow, as she tried desperately to squeeze her eyes shut so they wouldn't trickle down her face. I handed her a tissue and she stared at it blankly as if not knowing what it was for. 

The doctor asked her if she had any questions for him. She didn't want to speak because of the humiliation and embarrassment she brought upon herself when she couldn't think of the simplest words. As I drove her home, all I could think of was poor Evelyn. Alzheimer's- the onslaught that leaves no survivors; the disease that will eventually rob her of all that she is and all that she knows. She looked at me with a look of defeat. "I don't mind going into a home" she said as she lowered her head. "No, no, I said, "your family will look after you. We will all look after you. You'll see." 

We all sat down around the dinner table at her home to plan our schedules with Evelyn. We'd all take turns visiting and assisting her until we could get her into a full-time nursing home where she would receive the care she needed. The first month went by without a hitch, but as the weeks progressed family members would fall short of keeping in contact with each other or fail to stop by to check on Evelyn. (But we all forget from time to time, don't we?) 

As weeks turned into months, the problems of trying to find full-time care for Evelyn were mounting. She cried daily at the thought of becoming a burden to her children, most of whose names she couldn't even remember now. As the disease progressed, trying to juggle work schedules and doctor's appointments were becoming almost impossible for her family. Tension between them was high, but eventually Evelyn was placed in a nursing facility. Her family promised to visit every chance they got. 

The first few weeks, Evelyn had a barrage of people in and out of her room. They brought her flowers and little photos, and trinkets that might stir her memories of days gone by. After two months, however, visitors became scarce. Evelyn sat by the picture window in the day room; her tiny body slumped in a wheelchair because she was not walking much now. She watched as the cars came and went, one by one, but none were for her. 

Suddenly she heard, "Let's go, Evelyn. We need to get you cleaned up for your birthday. I'm sure your family will come today," one of the caregivers said happily as she wheeled Evelyn down the hall. 

But they didn't come. Nobody came. There were no visitors or flowers, or photos or trinkets. As Evelyn lay in her bed, the caregiver gently pushed her hair away from her tired, green eyes. She took Evelyn's feeble hand. "I'm sure your family loves you, Evelyn. They probably just forgot that today was your birthday. After all, we all forget from time to time, don't we?" 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: March 04, 2022

© Copyright 2022 mari' emeraude. All rights reserved.

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