“The Long Goodbye”


I am not certain if Nancy Regan was the originator of the term “the long goodbye” but she, or whomever, certainly summed up the progress of dementia in whatever form perfectly. I could have never imagined finding myself along with my brother and sister in the position of seeing our Mom slowly but surely sinking into confusion, occasional apparent delusions, memory loss and a seeming inability at times to remember our names. Yet she also has times of perfect clarity and reason that is, from all observations, free of any taint of disordered thinking.

I would not have imagined either that a sibling of mine would have for all practical purposes abandoned any direct or concerted effort to assist Mom. This same sibling would not even have her present house if it were not for Mom and Dad rescuing her from the possibility of foreclosure nor would her two daughters been fed and clothed properly whilst their mother wrestled with her then husband’s debilitation from an aneurism.

Each week I go to visit Mom and each week there seems to be a little less of “MOM” left. She still though has moments of humor and wit in all its subtleties and irony. There is yet that wonderful and reassuring sparkle that says “MOM” to us who have been fortunate enough to call her Mother.

Sometimes the frustration of repeatedly hearing what I call “circular conversations” or the interruptions she makes when you are speaking can be challenging to say the least. But growing up with all but one grandparent helped prepare me for that challenge and I give thanks to God that I had the great blessing of knowing them. I still perhaps selfishly grieve at their passing. I must however admit I wonder why they did not appear to have anything remotely like “the long goodbye” and were quite mentally alert as long as they lived. They lived nearly a century I might add.

Has our environment becomes so toxic and those responsible for that toxicity so adept at any consequence for it that our aging population will suffer without justice? Has the destruction of the extended family and of community that is so pervasive been the vehicle by which this toxicity has visited such a plague upon our houses!

The Long Goodbye is longer for those who watch it perhaps than for those who have live it.

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