Sunday, August 1, 2010

Roy and Kitty

Roy was at my mother's 75th birthday party for only a brief time. He was there with his dog. Kitty was not able to come out and the few other people who were part and parcel of my parents long-ago past came and stayed briefly. The heat was immense (and continues).

Roy is a friend of, not only mine on fb, but also a number of my siblings. On his facebook page there are pictures of his daughters, who were always so pretty and nice. These days they are grouped around him, everyone with arms around each other. And then there is Kitty, the girls' mother, his wife of forever, who like my parents and their friends have been married and shared lives since out of high-school or college. She was always so pretty and vivacious, with a willing and ready smile and a How-are-you?-others-centeredness. In the current pictures there is still that lovely smile, but her face has taken on the slackness found in the later stages of the Alzheimer's patient. As with any progressive disease process, if a person were to take pictures of people with Alzheimers from year to year, and year to year (or month to month in the faster progressing varieties) and then compare the pictures of one alzheimer patient to another, that person would see the resemblance in the pattern of change. The wearing away of the personality, the slow slippage, the long goodbye (as one journalist stated in his piece on CBS Sunday Morning not that long ago). There is the slackness of jaw, the lack of focus, the dimished animation.

But in these pictures with Kitty, she, whose progression is so clearly documented and looks to be in the later stages (one hates to say final). You will see Roy, with his arm draped tenderly around her shoulders, or holding her hand. Sometimes he will have his hand on her leg and they will be leaning in together. There in pictures, they are a couple, whose long years of memories shared, appear to be only his now.