Where am I and where are you?

When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in August 2015, I felt the ground shift underneath me. No one in my family had ever had any form of dementia. We had no experience or wisdom to draw from. There was a period of shock and denial as we watched the disease pulling her along. I stayed in that state longer than I wish I had. I wish I had been able to digest it quicker, accept it sooner, and embrace it for what it was. Embrace her for what she was becoming.

I did get there. Eventually. I had an aha moment in February about who my mother still was. Her essence. And I was ready to dive in and just take from her whatever she could still offer. On her terms. In her time. But the funny thing about that disease is that it changed the rules constantly and I didn’t always catch up in time. It seemed that the very moment I got comfortable in a spot, my base changed. We were always navigating new terrain.

With that in my head, I sat down and wrote.

Where am I and where are you?

At the corner of grace and comfort
I am standing
On the line between sand and water,
gold and blue,
what I’ve always known and what I’ve dreamed would be
The air is 78 degrees and I am wearing the salty breeze as a cloak
The sand is warm and fleecy under my bare feet
where I am standing.
But where am I?
And where are you?
I look down at the place I am standing.
If I even am.
There is no sand now. Only water.
I am on the line between up and down
swimming and sinking
blue and black
what I am seeing and what I clench my eyes in fear against.
My salt cloak is sticky and heavy around my shoulders and I want to throw it off.
I haven’t moved but nothing is familiar.
The dark waters wrap my ankles like an icy tentacle
where I am standing – if I even am.
But where am I?
And where are you?
I look down again and my base has shifted. Again.
At the corner of life and mercy
I am standing
On the line between sea and sky
ache and acquittal
what I want for me and what I now hope for you.
The sun sags into a paling horizon , taking with it the day,
but leaving behind 1000 streaks of orange so that I can see.
And I know
Where you are
And where I am.

Dedicated to my mom, who suffered patiently. She lost this battle, but most definitely won the war.