It’s impossible to know which party suffers more when that particular beast makes its presence felt: the stricken individual or the family that finds itself struggling to relate to a stranger with a familiar face.
The alternative world, into which a dementia sufferer tumbles, must be, at times, a place of confusion and terror, but dare we hope that there is a positive side to this terrible condition: blissful liberation from self and the burdens acquired during a lifetime of being human?
The present is arcane and strange
and any recollection left
of what has happened in the past
is vague and liable to change.
Of future plans, he is bereft,
for nothing now is hard and fast.
They give him multicoloured pens
and paper, as one might a child.
Familiar voices interweave.
He sees, through a distorting lens,
people who wept, people who smiled,
that, one by one, stood up to leave.
He is content. He lives in grace.
What matter if the moments blur,
if his nocturnal thoughts are grim?
He has escaped himself: his face,
a kind of absence in the mirror,
comforts and somehow pleases him.