And a time when you just cannot bullshit. An acquaintance of mine, not really super close, but we know each other professionally just got a diagnosis that has shattered me. Selfishly all I can think of is me. You see we are about the same age, same everything, yet she has early Alzheimer’s which I think is a real bitch. We aren’t even Facebook friends, and I went to her profile and looked up pictures. That smile, that face—it will slowly fade. Those plans for travel, the books she was going to sit down to write, future weddings. They still may happen, except she might not be involved, or if there peripherally, and the memories one should hold dear—those will disappear.
I think of myself in the middle of mid-life, middle-aged, and the very idea of Alzheimer’s freaks me out. Losing memories, losing time. It changes everything. The shared bits and pieces, the memories that make us uniquely us, gone.
Right now I am in the midst of planning a thousand-mile bike trip from the top of the UK to the tip, John O’Groats to Land’s End. Friday night I rode back in the dark, in the warm spring night, so glad to be alive, so happy to be healthy. So lucky.
My last couple of bike trips I’ve carried with me memories of someone I’ve lost. When cycling Florida winter of 2015 I took Don with me. When I was in Sweden fall of 2014 Fred came along. At times Mom and Dad have popped up beside me. Always the thought is never too far from my mind that all our days are numbered, finite, and that these miles and scenes will never be re-lived. That we are only passing through.
So when her husband wrote to inform me—I knew I couldn’t bullshit. It’s sad, it’s stupid, it’s so unfair; it makes me question the universe because there is no silver lining. With news like this one can only weep and rage against fate.