My spouse and I are now the senior residents of our block. The man who had held that honor has gone to live in a nursing home.
He and his wife had lived next door to the house we've owned for nearly 30 years. They had been there some 50 years. Yes, 50 years. I still wear a necklace he helped my once-young son make me for Mother's Day. His youngest son, who loved to work with youth, used to spend a lot of time with my son when my son was a teenager.
My neighbor used to cane furniture and make jewelry. He and his late wife (who was a librarian) raised six children. He was active in his church and cared greatly for people. His children are just as caring as he was.
He used to share some of his memories with me, back when he had memories. His children kept him in the house, with caregivers, as long as they could. But his dementia had gotten to the point where he refused to eat, to bathe, to let others care for him. Now, he is adjusting to nursing home life in a dementia unit.
Perhaps it is best that we can not see our future. I remember thinking, at one time, that we were fortunate to have such caring neighbors. I remember nights when I was overcome by motherhood, and went over to their house to visit for a few minutes, just to get away. But both of them were taken by dementia. His wife first, and now him.
A couple of songs about time. (Some may take up a lot of your time - come back at your leasure, if you want.)
I'll leave you with one more thought - there is something called music therapy for people with dementia. I don't know if it was ever tried with my neighbor, but it is intriguing. Here is a playlist of 15 songs said to spark awareness in people with dementia.
One of them, ironically, is sung by a singer in the last stages of dementia himself, Glen Campbell.
I dedicate this other Glen Campbell song to my former neighbor.
I will not say goodbye, neighbor. Only Godspeed.