It breaks my heart to call my aunt each evening. She suffered a massive stroke last summer which left her blind and with rapidly increasing dementia. I call because I don’t live close enough to visit often. Bringing up memories from 50 years ago usually calms her. Her only son lives in another state, and her doctors recommended against moving her. But the calls are painful. As her dementia increases, she often hallucinates, doesn’t know where she is, fights caregivers, insists she’s being kept a prisoner.
And she is in prison—trapped inside an aged body with a damaged brain—a brain that cannot process signals from her eyes—a brain that creates a dream fantasy world for her.
I mourn for my aunt—she never wanted to be a burden. I mourn for my cousin who has lost his mother—although her heart still beats. And I mourn for myself—seeing my own future.