Writing | Rage | Dal Segno al Fine

The story of an aging couple--the aggression that can come with Alzheimer’s, the love that endures, and the love that doesn't.

Story Origins

Dal Segno al Fine

Alzheimer’s sucks. It's heartbreaking, frustrating, confusing, chaotic, terrifying, and really just fucking awful. For the last years of her life, I watched my mother--a gifted musician who prized intelligence and always knew the exact right thing to say in most situations--degress into someone I no longer knew. She'd successfully hidden her condition for years, but when she finally lost her nouns (and consequently the ability to name things) her deepening hell was exposed to the world. At times, I thought of "the terrible twos" (a stage some parents might be familiar with), which are, I believe, caused in part by children's inability to express themselves (they know what they want, they simply don't have the means to frame that desire). It's not a fun time for anyone involved, although with children there is the hope they will grow out of the stage. With Alzheimer's, there is no hope.

I've been dreading writing this post ever since I came up with the idea to share my story origins publicly. While the events in Dal Segno al Fine didn't actually happen, a lot of this story hits pretty close to the truth: my mother did have Alzheimer's, my father did suffer multiple strokes, I did fly regularly to Ontario for extended stays to care for them, and for a time, my parents did live in a retirement apartment equipped with an ersatz kitchen where appliances beyond a mini-fridge and a plug-in kettle were forbidden. However, it is fiction and I'll end by emphasizing that Raymond's actions are not those of my father and similarly, Helen's behaviour does not mirror my mother's.

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