It's been nearly three months since my mother died, back at the end of January.
In the weeks after her death, my brothers and SILs (who since I live six hundred miles away had to deal with everything) learned just how serious my father's memory problems had become. Apparently my mother had been covering for him for years.
Though in fairness, I think he has deteriorated a lot in the past year. It was during this past year that my mother began mentioning to me how much trouble he was having, and asking me -- after they visited -- if I noticed how different he was. (I did.)
In any case, my SIL and nephew took him to a neurologist, and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. We've got him in an assisted living facility now, which luckily his combined pensions and Social Security will pay for. He's physically very healthy, but he can't remember things -- he still has trouble remembering that my mother is dead.
This is all very depressing, I have to say. My father was a brilliant man -- his intelligence, his mind, was his strength. Now he can't remember how to charge his phone.
at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.
do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?
when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I'm sorry I keep saying Hurry—
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.
Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.