I find you sitting in your favourite armchair by the bay window.  I follow your gaze to the well-manicured lawn and flower beds budding into life.  Are you remembering our garden?  How much you loved it?

Would today bring some sign of recognition?  They are so much fewer now.

I scan the room for Michael, but he’s not here.  I know it’s for the best but it doesn’t prevent a stab of disappointment.

***

Is it fate that brings two people together?  The visitor’s lounge was busier than usual that day I met Michael; the only available seat was at his table.  Coffee in hand, I remember feeling apprehensive as I approached, unsure how well I’d be received.  Visitors didn’t always welcome company.  But his smile was warm and uplifting somehow.

It wasn’t long before we were seeking each other out, our chats becoming more regular.  I learned his wife, Joanne, had been admitted to the home a year before Tim, my husband.  And what began as small talk slowly developed into more meaningful conversation.  It was a relief to be able to share my innermost thoughts and feelings without fear of being judged.

Maybe it was inevitable that chats should become dates and friendship something more.  Suddenly life wasn’t quite so grey and lonely anymore; sunlight had filtered in.

But the places we find happiness don’t always bring contentment.  Being with Michael may have made life easier but visiting Tim became so much harder.

***

You smile, as I sit down beside you.  Tentatively, I reach for your hand.  But hope quickly turns to desolation as I watch your expression change to confusion and you pull away.

We sit in silence sharing your favourite toffees.  Later, I’ll initiate some level of conversation.  It’s a routine we’ve fallen into – one that imparts a sense of calm.

My thoughts return to Michael.  Although on the same journey, we were at different stages.  And although I miss him, I miss you so much more.

It’s then I hear you say my name.  Our eyes lock and time becomes suspended.

While the heart remembers.

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Voice-Team
Voice-Team(@voice-team)
Admin
6 months ago

Finding a smile and a moment of recognition in the middle of memory loss is a gift that should not be wasted. Having to decide between those fleeting moments and the reality of the interaction with another would be a difficult decision to make. The writer brings the reader all the emotions wrapped in this decision.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
6 months ago

Linda, your story is so heartbreaking. It’s difficult enough when a loved one dies, but at least you can move on, find love with another, without feeling guilt, but to lose someone to dementia or some kind of brain injury is doubly hard I think. Having someone you love no longer recognising you is unimaginably hard for those who haven’t experienced it. I can remember when I was 10 or 11 and my grandfather, who I loved dearly, didn’t remember me anymore. I can remember the fear and anger he felt all the time because everything was so unfamiliar for him, and saw the same sort of thing tearing families apart during my nursing career. You handled your story with great sensitivity. It’s one that will stay with me for a while.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
6 months ago

Linda, this is such a heartfelt story. You explained in a few words what people go through when a loved one can no longer remember them. This was so beautifully told. I loved the ending.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
Reply to  Linda Rock
6 months ago

It definitely did. It was a beautiful, hopeful ending.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Hello, Linda. It really hurts that the person you love no longer remembers you. Every hour feels like your heart is being crushed. But the ending made my heart leap with joy. Truly the heart never forgets and always remembers it. It is well portrayed. Well done. 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Linda Rock
6 months ago

You’re most welcome, Linda. Keep writing.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
6 months ago

A beautiful story, Linda, about love, lost love, friendship, and loneliness. It’s easy to put oneself in your protagonist’s situation and feel the mixed emotions.

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Brigitta Hegyi
Brigitta Hegyi(@brigitta-hegyi)
6 months ago

I love the story, especially the last line. It’s hard to be in a situation like this, you want to love, but it’s maybe not that kind of love anymore. Good story and ending! 🙂

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