i see the laugh lines on your wrinkled face
and can't help but wonder if you'll ever laugh again.
or is this to be my last memory of you as you look into my eyes
confused, frightened, dazed?
"it should be called failure of the brain," the doctors said,
and how right they were.
for how could a word as arbitrary as "alzheimer's" or "dementia" capture
the devastation it brings upon all it touches?
i remember so many things, my love.
our first date at that county fair so long ago,
our first kiss, a fumbling, clumsy kiss in the back of your beat-up old car before you dropped me home,
our repeated break-ups and make-ups as we navigated a long distance relationship through college,
the day you got down on one knee and asked me to be yours forever.
alas, it seems our forever has finally been stolen away from us.
you've forgotten all of these memories, and more.
they say at the end you'll be unable to do anything, bedridden-
but they never fully explain the anguish beforehand, from all the little things.
the first time you forgot how to button up your shirt.
the first time you forgot how to make coffee.
the first time you forgot our grandkids' names.
the first time you asked again and again and again where i was while looking straight in my eyes.
i'm a stranger to you now.
when i look in your guarded, panicked eyes, i long for the warm loving ones i fell in love with.
but how can you look at me with love, when i am nothing but a stranger?
and still i come to this home filled with people just like you yet nothing like you, day after day.
still i spend hours with you until you trust me enough to let me hold your hand and talk to you.
still i whisper to you how much i love you, how i'll always be here.
because to me, you'll never be