We went to an annual San Francisco “Dickens Fair” yesterday. It was the Cow Palace, a huge place just packed with various stalls, stages, actors running around playing period characters, and food, all in a Victorian theme. There was an astonishing number of fair-goers in full costumes with all the accouterments, eg several men with chimney-sweep equipment. So it was pretty neat. Although the birds-eye map of the floor was pretty straightforward, it was confusing for me to wander around by myself. And when I did spot something and wanted to show it to the family, I had trouble remembering where I had seen them. That’s a significant increase in impairment of spatial memory.
During this Christmas vacation, I’ve thought intermittently about how long it will be until I see the family again. I’ve decided to come much more frequently to see Laurel and her family so it will be only March. But Karin and Gabriel will be in India for as long as a year and a half as he does his PhD dissertation. They will be back in August but then not until mid-2014. The changes in cognitive ability don’t seem to be happening very quickly, but they are certainly happening. I don’t know who I’ll be when I see them again. In some important way this and other times are opportunities for saying good-bye, for recognizing that things will be significantly different when we are together again. Perhaps that’s too dramatic! Perhaps it will be so gradual that we don’t ever really say goodbye but the relationships just fade away. If so, when is the time for mourning? Probably I just have to accept the fact that each saying goodbye will have more significance than it has before this disease. Maybe that’s enough.