Mary sent in this piece of writing that her 13 year old daughter Molly wrote, for the BBC ‘500 words’ competition. It’s told from the point of view of her grandmother, who has dementia.
I stared down at the aged, withered photo in my hand. A beautiful young lady was beaming up at a man whose arms were draped around her shoulders protectively, his chin was held high, a wide grin lighting up his face. You could tell by the adoring look in their glistening eyes that they were basking in eternal, unconditional love. I wasn’t sure about many things anymore, but I knew for certain that their love would endure. Slowly, I turned my head to face the man sitting next to me. His hair was as frosty white as icing sugar, and his chocolate brown eyes stared straight into mine-reassuring me. I peered down at his wrinkled hands, which he was rubbing together nervously.
Quickly I looked back up and croaked in my husky voice “who are they?”
“It’s us my love. Remember?” He replied in a soft, calm voice.
I glanced back at the picture, before moving my eyes up to my pale, skeletal hands. How could that innocent youth in the photo be me, and the handsome man in the photo was unfamiliar. I could sense the anticipation growing as the man waited for an answer.
“No, I don’t remember that, and I don’t remember you!”
As soon as the words had left my mouth the man’s sorrowful eyes glazed with tears, like a tank filling with water. He tried desperately to fight them back, but a single tear escaped rolling slowly down the crumbling mountain of his face. He shook his head, muttering hushed words underneath his breath. As I watched him cry, I understood that it was my fault. But what had I done except tell the truth? Was I meant to remember this man? What I did know was that he was my oxygen, constantly there for me.
“Sorry” I stammered through the blankness of my faltering mind.
“Don’t ever apologise my love” he replied with a voice thick with emotion, “it’s not your fault. Just know that.”
His final words continued to whir around and around my head, smothering me in a layer of confusion. Hesitantly, I reached out my hand meeting his halfway. We sat joined like this for what felt like forever, it made me feel safe, secure.
If only it could stay like this, but the fog surrounding me gets denser and denser every day.
They keep telling me I have dementia, to me it’s just a meaningless word, but it’s not only me who suffers. Every name I lose sight of, every face I can’t quite recall causes devastation. It’s like throwing a pebble into the sea, it triggers ripples all around. Waking up each morning and having to walk through an isolated forest, searching desperately for a piece of recognition, just something to call mine. It scares me beyond belief. But then through the mist will appear a bright familiar light guiding me to safety, through the depths of my foggy mind. The man whose heart will always be mine.