The Long Hello-The Other Side of Alzheimer’s

-an excerpt

For information on Cathie’s books see: www.cathieborrie.com

For lunch I make fruit salad and cottage cheese and one piece of whole-wheat toast.

I  stand at my mother’s kitchen window cutting up fruit and look out at the day. It’s raining. A raven watches me from his perch on the power line as the wind whisks wave tips into frothy white manes. I try not to think about where I am and what I do all day or the things I used to do and miss most—working, studying, canoeing, movies.


She has her lunch on a TV table in the den.

“How are you, Mum?”
I’m sort of dragging myself through.
“What are you dragging yourself through?”
Oh, wheat fields and sticky things. Someone’s pinning me all together. Oh yes, yes, I’m very, very clear. When that girl Cathie phoned this morning I thought, what’s she phoning me for?
“Cathie? But I’m Cathie—”
Then I heard her say, ‘Oh, because it’s a day,’ but she didn’t say the right name. Anyway, he went into sing and you went into sing, didn’t you?
“Into . . . sing? Um, I guess I did. Mum, I miss you.”
You know, I just stamp my foot and there she isn’t.
“She? Oh. You know, even though I see you every day I still miss you.”
Then my daughter Cathie came back to this side when she was through over there. I guess she was through and I was so surprised and thrilled and we had tea together and it was nifty.
“Your daughter? Oh. Well, how would you like us to be related?”
I think we’re doing fine in the water.

I don’t know where my will is, have I made a will? I must make a will.
“You already have a will. Your lawyer has the original, remember?”
I have not made a will. You’ll have to call my lawyer.
I show her a copy of her will.
That’s not mine.
“Yes it is, see where you’ve signed it?”
That’s not my signature.
“Oh, I’m all mixed up, Mum. Let’s just change the subject, it’s getting irritating.”
It was from the word go.
“Would you like a cup of tea?”
Oh how lovely. Where is my will? Did you sign this one?
“No! Oh gee, I don’t know, I’m going to go crazy in a minute! I think I’ll go home now, I’m
just so tired and this place it’s . . . it’s just too crazy here today.”
It wasn’t crazy before you got here.
I stay.
“You’re getting pretty funny, aren’t you?”
Do you mean funny queer?
“No, I mean funny amusing.”
Oh, that’s good.
“It’s a fine line though, isn’t it?”
It is with me.