- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Last week I attended an initiation to a secret club. The admission criteria are tough. One does not choose admission but still must pass a rigorous selection process. No one asks to get in this club and no invitations are issued. If you meet the qualifications you are in. Forever.
The club membership consists of those of us who have watched, waited, cried, cursed, promised, loved, and hated a parent who suffers from Alzheimer’s. If your parents have passed away from other causes you probably did not have years in which they no longer knew you. You also probably did not visit for years and years and just stare into their eyes. Always hoping, hoping, hoping for a glimmer of recognition that is no longer and never more to be found. You might have wondered (as all club members have) how long, how long can this possibly go on?
Those of us in the club have also wondered about ourselves. How did we become someone who can accept a horrible new reality in which our parent slowly fades away? It is like a giant eraser is slowing moving back and forth over your loved one as they become fainter and fainter. And we increasingly wonder about our own future. Is Alzheimer’s perking away in our own brains just waiting to bring our children into the club?
In this club the membership is prone to drink, curse and pray, sometimes all at once.
In this club we examine the past over and over, looking for clues we missed or ignored or pretended to ignore. We look endlessly into their face for a sign of the person we knew and loved. Always asking, are you still in there?
In this club we all suffer from guilt over conversations not had, time not shared, consolation not given, patience worn thin as a razor, and anger over the entire damn mess.
In this club we love and hate old photographs. You know the ones where they are young, happy and hopeful? These photos will stab your heart.
The recent initiation was another large, loving family. Our membership grows by leaps and bounds. They sent their once glamorous, talented, intelligent mother off with loving words and praise. She would have been proud of them all that day.
Welcome to the club dear friends.
- Image: Licensed by LikeTheDew.com at iStock.com.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
This past weekend, my wife Jody and I attended a performance of Cyrano de Bergerac performed at the Blackfriar’s Theater in Staunton, Va. Just to hear the language was well worth the one-hundred forty mile round trip. Although I don’t have the skill to read it in the original French, Anthony Burgess’ translation which combines blank verse, prose, and rhyming couplets held our attention for the nearly three-hour performance. He created a contemporary sound for a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand based on an historical seventeenth-century troubadour, dramatist, poet, soldier, and sword-swinging duelist known for his razor-sharp wit and w Read on →
I knew I liked him early on by the way he told a joke. He had timing and delivery and the punch line was not telegraphed. Whenever I get off my mountain, I’m alert to serendipitous opportunities to meet such people and to get a peek into their lives. So on a recent trip to Atlanta for a couple of woodworking classes, I had the pleasure of spending a few nights with a dear friend in Asheville, one of the world’s finest and most civilized of cities. My friend is also a fine lady and like her adopted city, most civ Read on →
The French Impressionists attempted a rendering of what they saw, an "impression" yes, but the interesting aspect is best illustrated by Seurat's Pointillism. Interesting because in the late 1800s there was a shift in emphasis among painters of an adventurous nature, what came to be called the "avant-garde," from the "subject" depicted to the "act" of perception. This shift may have grown out of or been influenced by then current scientific theories of how the eye works, but I believe it was based in an emerging self-awareness. The excitement was not about "how" I see but "that" I see. I Read on →
There were superficial reasons—when he thundered on the political scene at the Democratic Convention in 2004 and then rode on the wave of that thunder to his election in 2008—to compare Barack Obama with Abraham Lincoln. There was the Illinois connection, for instance, and the gifted orator connection, and the “new birth of freedom” connection. Add to these the evident high esteem, even reverence, held by Obama for that towering mentor of his spirit, and it is easy to link the two of them. But what about things deeper than the surface? A sobering intimation arose in me, in the wake of the Read on →