Hello?


Funny. I never thought I’d be back on these pages. What’s done is done and what’s gone is gone, do-dah, do-dah. But things happen.

See, I thought Alzheimer’s was done with me–or me with it–once Mom died. There was fall-out, of course; grief being the main of it. I’m still dealing with that over a year later. I’m not crying daily, as I was back then, but it doesn’t take much to get me choked up. All I have to do is see a little old woman pushing a walker or sitting alone staring aimlessly, and I’m smack in the middle of it again. Friends have sent Alzheimer’s-related videos. They’ve recommended books. A few have suggested I see the movie “Still Alice.”

I’ll tell you, it ain’t gonna happen. Those feelings are still much, much too raw.

Don’t let anyone tell you that grief “ought” end by a certain time frame. Don’t let anyone tell you that you “should” be over it by now. Screw that. It’s over when it’s over and–honestly?–I don’t think it ever is, not entirely. It lessens, sure, but I don’t believe that grief ever leaves us completely. Its shape may change, and something of the emotional intensity, but disappear entirely? It’s a nice myth.

And now I’m dealing with it again, albeit at a distance. The persons involved are a couple I’ve become friends with over the past 19 months. Roger is nearly 80, his wife RoseMerrie a few years younger. She has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; Roger with (maybe) Lewy-Body Dementia…or perhaps some other kind. Doctors don’t seem certain. But it’s there.

Looming.

I can’t express to you how dear these two individuals have become to me. Roger is the subject of my next book, working title “The Man Who Loved Elephants.” For 19 months, we’ve talked at least once a week for two hours and RoseMerrie, bless her, has listened in and commented. We’ve laughed together, cried together, swore together. We’re frankly astonished at the number of similarities between us. In many respects, my relationship with Roger is the one I wish I could have had with my poor, broken father. According to Roger’s sister-in-law, I’ve become “another daughter” to him and RoseMerrie.

And now this.

So I get to watch it all again. The 3000 miles between us makes little difference. It’s still razor sharp and glittering, fractured glass bright as knives.

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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