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- The Week’s End
“Your mother is doing very well today,” I hear the nurse say from the hall.
The lucid days are the worst. That’s when it becomes real, that’s when I remember.
Of course, these days are the best days for my family because I am myself again. I know how hard it is on my son when I am not all there. I put on a brave face as I’m wrapped in hugs and kisses, and I recount faces and names. Underneath, I am struggling not to stand up and throw everything in my path. I try my best not to scream into their smiling faces that they do not know.
They do not know that every minute I am cognizant of my surroundings is one minute more that I wish I could reach inside my head and tear out the malfunctioning organ that can no longer consistently comprehend what day it is, but is still fully capable of processing the grief I am feeling from being aware. They do not know that I wish I could join my late husband, Richard in his plot under the willow tree. They do not know that I remember being unaware of the present, and the fool I make of myself when I cannot process who people are, or what events have recently occurred. How could they?
What an odd paradox. When I slip into the dream-like state of augmented reality, I am blissfully unaware that anything is not as it should be. However, when I am aware, I should be happy that I am pack in the present, but I can’t be. I know that I could slip back into that state of dementia at any time with no warning. I know it is coming but I do not know when, and the cycle repeats.
Day after day I am stuck here oscillating between the two states that I now exist in with no hope of breaking free. It’s funny. When someone says “torture,” the things that come to mind are blood, blades, and begging. At least physical pain ceases at points. There is no escape from the turmoil that exists inside of me, except for when I cannot even remember why there is turmoil in the first place. The mitigation of this agony is the very thing that is causing it in the first place.
I am a prisoner of my own mind. Everything that has sculpted me as a person throughout my life no longer exists. My consciousness is an ephemeral entity I cannot control. I want the disease to consume me entirely. When it does, I will finally be at peace. I will no longer have to live on the precipice of my awareness.
My son follows the nurse into the hallway. Probably to discuss what is going to happen to me next. I hate to cause my family grief, but they would want what is best for me. They want me to be happy…like Richard. Richard wants me to be happy. I should call him up at the office and ask him if he is going to be late for dinner again. If he is then I will make sure to keep a plate warm and put the kids in the playroom so as not to disturb him when he reads the paper.
Richard walks through the door just then, but there is a woman with him. I don’t recognize her, but she appears to be a nurse. Richard has his hand on her arm. Who is she? How dare he bring another woman into my home! Is he cheating on me? No, this is not right. No. No! He notices my anger and rushes over to me. I raise a hand to slap him for being so brazen and disrespecting me in my own home.
He catches my hand, visibly distraught. Good. The woman has the nerve to talk to him with me here.
“I’m sorry. She was doing so well. I’m afraid you are going to have to leave.”
Alexandra Mulligan ’18