(Continue from yesterday; see the previous post.)
Meeting my gaze seconds later with uncertainty, she answered,
“Yes,” as her entire body shook uncontrollably. Her laser stare was penetrating yet hollow— she struggled to formulate her thoughts, putting them into words. Mrs. Dewey’s fixated gaze was spellbinding, merely electrifying. It felt as if being pulled into an emotional vortex, a tunnel that goes deep into the soul. At that moment, I no longer saw her, but I saw myself through her! Trembling as I was, I tried regaining composure, but the moment was hers, not mine, and I became lost in it! Now, the roles of the patient and caregiver are entirely erased.
Partitions were, but no longer are, two different worlds had merged. Hers and mine-that finite thread woven in the birth of our humanity became fused. I tried keeping my emotions in check, willing myself not to cry, but my feelings were raw. The realization of what had just occurred melted me inside. Although I tried holding it together with all the strength I could muster, I couldn’t, and it was palpitating. It was as if our spirits had merged, and I no longer saw Mrs. Dewey but saw myself in her.
This woman’s life was seeping away through the thigh places of her circumstances and like sand in an hourglass, quickly escaping through the narrow corridor of time. Alzheimer’s ravaging effects took their stronghold on the very fiber of her being. Yet, briefly pausing between the harsh realities of her condition and refusing to accept the finality of what this illness brings, hope springs anew. Acknowledgment of Mrs. Dewey’s truth, which for seconds had become mine, a sense of hope was born through seeing myself in her.
Looking at her compassionately upon regaining some sense of control, I inquired: Mrs. Dewey, can I get you anything before I go?” (Cont.)