My Alzheimer’s friend, Fay passed away last Friday.
I heard the news yesterday.
I was planning on visiting last week, but didn’t.
This post is to honor Fay.
She was the same age as my mother–nearly 90. And I often used Fay as a proxy for her at times when I needed a hand to hold.
It always took Fay a minute to recognize me. But we would grasp each others hands and then she would pull me to sit by her. Often her friends would stand behind me and want me to touch their hands too. She would lift my hand and touch theirs, but she would not let go.
I knew she loved me, and she knew I loved her.
I shall miss Pat, the piano man who played more than old tunes but worked music magic conjuring memories of yesteryear’s.
Oh, how Fay loved to hum those old songs and I became brave and sang out the words loud and proud. (Well the ones I knew.) Most everyone else was usually hunched over in a deep memory sleep, anyway. But me and Fay, we tapped and snapped and clapped and swayed to every beat.
Fay never knew my name.
She did not really know why I came.
She never spoke a clear word to me, each month in the years I visited her.
But who needs words!
We gave each other time…
We both needed it.
Who knew hanging out at an Alzheimer’s ward would be such a gift.
I shall miss you my dear friend, Fay.
I shall miss holding your hands…