Preserve your memories; they’re all that’s left you.
Hangers and hangers of clothing that’s been worn once, a dozen times, a hundred times, however many times. A hidden bottle of Brandy here, a hidden bottle of Brandy there. Photo album after photo album. And heels, by God, heels. I pull it all out of the closets like unwilling wisdom teeth, stuffing it into oversized black bags that look as though they held corpses in a previous life. Now they hold my grandparents. Or at least the articles that defined my grandparents. Oh, my grandfather’s not dead, but his mind is – and that’s all people have ever been to me anyway – minds encased by fleshy overcoats.
Then all of the bags get stacked in the garage, as war veterans with blank graves. I don’t sympathize with them, ruminate on them. I don’t even give them eulogies. I try to keep them as faceless as possible. And I wipe my dusty death feet on the mat, and I come back in the house, and I sit in the woman’s leather chair in the corner, and I listen to some rollicking ’20’s music, and I feel further away, further away, then ever before. And I try to see the room from her eyes, when one of us would enter the front door for a visit. And I can’t understand how she could have enjoyed those visits at all. I didn’t. I couldn’t reach her chair from my dutiful spot on the couch. I had to walk over to her. I had to walk over to her. And even as I was hugging her, she was in the corner. As I kissed her on the forehead, she was in the corner.
But then I hear Helen Kane sing “I Wanna Be Loved By You” and sneeze some dust and Brandy out of my nostrils. I take a long-stemmed glass out of the cupboard and fill it with Cherry Cider instead of wine. I survey the madness again. And then, from somewhere in the back of my mind I picture my mother, walking out of the dementia unit, softly crying, saying, “It will be okay again. It will never be the same, but it will be okay again.”