A small drive down to the corner store was never a problem for you. Frequent trips were made to get basic household items or ingredients for cooking. This day you needed toilet paper, laundry detergent, and some paper towels. In your car you turned down a familiar street. Ten minutes passed and you wondered why you had not reached the store yet. After twenty minutes passed you began to worry and called your son.
"Jim, I'm….I'm lost trying to get to the store," you said ashamedly. When Jim eventually realized that you were indeed lost going down the street he got your location. You waited with a tight ball for a stomach and a cool sweat down your spine, until Jim finally came and led you to the store. Jim watched you in the store, and you paid for flour and a hand towel. Alone, later that night, you were doing laundry until you realized that you forgot laundry detergent at the store. Shortly afterwards the paper towels and toilet paper were noticed missing as well.
A few weeks later you went to your granddaughter's first birthday party. As you stood in the kitchen Jim's friends told a joke nearby. The joke was simple, but you did not understand it. What was so funny about a man dancing dressed as a cat? You saw people look at you as they laughed at the joke. There was a barrier between you and them now since you did not understand, but you did not want them thinking you old or inept, so to cover up your misunderstanding you laughed with troubled eyes.
Susan, your daughter-in-law, had set up icing, sprinkles, and candles, by a freshly baked cake. She asked you to decorate it because you were always the best at icing a cake. You held your hand over the cake and the warm smell of the fresh chocolate cake filled your nose. The cake was warm, but not warm enough to melt the icing. Excited to get to work you picked up a knife to start spreading the icing. It was not until later, when Susan came back in the kitchen to check on your progress, that you found out you were holding the knife upside down. "Oh good grief, I didn’t even realize. No wonder my palm was getting sore." Susan gave you a puzzled look, but said nothing. When the cake was finished you went to sit in the living room.
There were quite a few people in such a small space, but you managed to claim your rocking chair you always sat in. The end table next to the chair was made out of glass, but just the other day it had been wood. Curious, you asked, "Did you just get this table Jim?"
He looked at you with the same look Susan gave you earlier. Looking him in the eye you felt you had said something wrong and shrank into your chair. "No Mom, we got it a few weeks ago, remember? You came with us to pick it out." You had no recollection of shopping for a table, but you looked away and said, "Oh yes, I remember."
These instances of memory loss and confusion began to escalate over the next couple of years. Jill, your granddaughter, was starting school though you still thought she was between one and two. You grudgingly lived in a nursing home at this point, and often required to be reminded why. Fear gripped you so tightly when Jim and Susan first suggested you move into a home because you did not want to be "put away," but now on occasion you liked the home, but there were days that you still forgot.
Time passed placidly. Not much of anything significant for you happened in the next few years as your memory waned. You occasionally had visitors, such as one young girl named Jill who called you grandma. You had no more memory of a family, except on occasion, and soon your mind had no idea what your body was telling you, and you had to be helped in all bodily needs. Then soon after that, there was nothing, and all was empty and dark. Disease could not leave you, and there was nothing to be done. And the effect disease on your life was a dimensioning one, but the memory of your life has not been lost to the tides of disease.