The Fates are truly cruel. It is bad enough that we must grow old but at least they could leave us our dignity while we await our final rest. As I have posted before I manage an apartment building and I have a tenant, whom I shall just call J give me her notice that she has to move. Actually it was her daughter who phoned me to let me know that J had been accepted into one of the Regions Senior Citizens assisted living homes. J has live here for fifteen months and she is a delightful woman who deserves a better fate than what the Gods have in store for her. She is healthy and active but it is her mind that is starting to dim. She forgets things like falling asleep and leaving the kitchen tap running with the plug in place flooding her apartment or misplacing her keys. She seems more easily confused than when she first came here. A few days ago she came to my door in tears because she had gotten turned around and couldn’t find the laundry room. Last month she asked me where the Canadian Tire store was as she wanted to walk there to return something. I told her that it was about 7 kilometres from the building and that it was too far and dangerous for her to be walking there. She was determined so off she went only to be brought home a couple of hours later by the Police. She had gotten lost. J. is a small town girl who moved here from up north and she is just shy a year of being 80 and independent as they come. She is one of the most pleasant, delightful, person I have ever had living in this building and I am going to miss her cheerful greetings.
J. is not the only tenant I have that has difficulty with forgetfulness. I have two others, both women, one with Parkinson’s and the other in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This is no way for anyone to spend their declining years losing their dignity more and more with each passing day. It would be far more merciful if the Fates allowed them to pass quietly in the night. What crimes or so called sins have they committed to warrant this punishment? I am just nine years younger than J. and I fear that this could be my Fate. I have been shot at and shelled and as afraid as I was then I fear the loss of ME far more. What can be more cruel than realizing that the memories of who you are, what you have done, and your loved ones slowly fade until they are lost never to be found. That would be worse than any conceivable Hell.
I have noticed even with myself that sometimes I forget but so far it has been few and far between and it is never anything of real importance. I crack jokes about it but when one stops to think this might be the first signs of Senility, or Dementia, or even Alzheimer’s it is a bit sobering. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in a world where you do not know or recognize anyone especially your Family. I think if I suspected that is what will happen to me I’d end it before it started. I do not nor have I ever really feared death, it is after all inevitable it is the dying I fear. I watched my Mother die a death that we wouldn’t let an animal suffer when a stroke turned her into a drooling vegetable. I know this is a bit melodramatic but I begged my daughters that if it happened to me pull the plug and let me go with some dignity. I do not want to die in a soiled diaper with my saliva running down my cheek, blind and incoherent. After all is too much to ask of the Fates to let us go with some shred of dignity.