Telling: Swords & Arrows

Dementia Dialogues

We have lost our elders to forgetting. The horror of it unskins me. The day after day constriction. 

He has lost all context, the small thens that surround this now and hold it steady, and give us here and how and why. He sits at home, wanting to go home and worrying about how he will get there. We know but cannot tell him. Why should he trust us when what we say makes no sense? And it’s true, how can he be home if he doesn’t feel at home? 

She has lost language, the working of it, what goes where and how the pieces turn together. She sees what’s happening but cannot speak what she knows. Her gaze across the distance is fierce, a wild bird in a small cage. She does not welcome the indignity of being cared for. We sit. We hold her hand.