Daughtering in the Age of Alzheimer’s

The old man can be docile, but often he rages—against his senescence and anyone or anything that reminds him of it.  Attempts to reason with him are risky: they put him in mind of the distance between what he is and what he was.

Susceptible to flattery, he mistakes protestations of love for the real thing and imagines himself valued least where he is valued most.

There are moments of calm.  He is lucid.  He is tired.  Even a hurricane has an eye.

In the cold, he strips himself of clothing, because it no longer serves him.  Now he is naked, no matter what he wears.

Very near the end, once the rancor is past, he thinks she is an angel.  Smiling, she shakes her head.  She is human.  There is no safe escort to the final door, although some still hope for escort beyond it.

This is Lear’s story and Cordelia’s, but not only Lear’s and Cordelia’s. 

To the daughters and sons among us who know the story well, peace.

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