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Why I Can't Unsee Signs of Alzheimer's Around Me

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The other day, I was at the grocery store when I saw this couple shopping together. They looked to be somewhere in their 60s. Something about them caught my eye. I stopped what I was doing and started watching them, watching her. And I just knew.

My eyes filled to the brim with tears as I just stood there with this intense feeling of knowing.

The way she stared off into the distance, not looking at anything, but past everything.

The way her face held a constant look of both concentration and confusion at the same time, almost suspicious of what they were doing and why.

The way she took such small steps, it was more of a shuffle than a walk.

The way he pushed the cart and did all of the shopping, while she just followed behind him like a lost little girl.

The way he left her with the cart to get something one aisle over and she just stood there, examining items in the cart like they were foreign objects.

The way she looked at items on the shelves that clearly weren’t on their list, pretending to know what she was doing, what she was looking at.

The way he did everything as they were checking out, while she just stood there not knowing what to do with herself, but knowing that she should know.

The way he loaded everything into the trunk of their car, as she just stood there, wanting to help, but not knowing how, waiting until he was done so he could help her get into the car.

She reminded me so much of my mom.

In my experience, once you’ve seen Alzheimer’s firsthand, you can’t unsee it.

Not in your loved ones, your friends, or your neighbors. Not even in complete and total strangers at the grocery store.

I desperately wanted to do something to help them, to show them I understand, but I couldn’t. There was nothing I could do.

So, I just stood there.




And holding space in my heart for their struggle.

Because when you know, you just know.

And you will never forget.

Image provided by contributor.

Originally published: January 23, 2021
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