My friend Kathy posted this on her Facebook feed. Since her parents are both long gone, and because she constantly references her own memory lapses, I know she's talking about herself here. This makes me sad for her, but at the same time, it's illuminating.
Recently Stacy encouraged me to meet Kathy "in her reality." Clearly it's good advice from someone who has experience with dementia patients. I have to remind myself that she's likely never going to get better, so what is the harm in indulging her? There is no harm. I am helping to ensure that whatever time we have left together is friendly and less stressful for both of us. (Thank you, Stacy.)
I worry about Kathy because I know at least two of our friends -- John and Gregory -- don't want to spend time with her. They feel being around her is "too disturbing." I am especially sad about John's decision, because Kathy has always been more than a little in love with him and I know hearing from him would mean more to her than just dumb old me. But John has gone through dementia with a family member and knows what he can handle and what he can't, so he's chosen to communicate with Kathy only through texts and emojis.
I also worry about Kathy because, as we all begin to get vaccinated, she's going to try to make plans. She moved out to Dekalb to save money on housing and be closer to her adult grandchildren, both of which are good things. But Dekalb is an hour out of Chicago. She should not be driving. Even if I take the train out there, the nearest stop is 20 miles from her home. I don't want to be with her for those 20 miles. I don't know how to tell her I'll Uber to/from the train station to visit her without her knowing I just don't trust her driving skills. I certainly don't want to be responsible for her driving up here. I hate to say it, but there are some things about Covid I'll miss, and the perfect excuse it gives me not to see Kathy is one of them.
I miss the old days, when all we worried about was who was sleeping with who and who got passed over for a promotion.