My mother-in-law has an amazing laugh, and, until recently, was pretty good at maintaining superficial conversation, over and over and over, again. She drove me crazy (in the way that Korean mother-in-laws do) long before Alzheimer’s hit. She’s eighty-two, loved ballroom dancing and doesn’t shake her butt anymore when she walks.
A couple of falls, followed by a medical crisis with her boyfriend, “The Colonel,” (who lived with her and took care of her) and she spiraled into needing twenty-four hour care. My husband went into a series of “lasts” . . . the last picture taken in her own home, and possibly the last one with him. We took her house keys out of her purse, she won’t be needing those anymore. We threw away her soy sauce, brown sludge that must have been in her refrigerator since 1999.
We took her to breakfast, and a (final) walk through the park next to her house. We stopped at a water fountain and my husband, who was trying so hard to squeeze every moment of now out of the day, held his mom’s arm. He gave her a penny and told her to make a wish. She tossed it and we watched that penny make its arc in slow motion. She didn’t have any wishes left. Fucking Alzheimer’s.