They got out of the vehicle and walked into the chapel. "They" being Prince Phillip, 96, and Queen Elizabeth II, his wife, 92.
They weren't assisted. They walked without canes or walkers. They had their memories, and fully participated in the events of today.
We had a wonderful time watching the royal wedding this morning, even waking up early to see it.
Later in the day, we visited my mother in law, 90, along with two relatives visiting from out of town. My mother in law is in rehab after three hospitalizations since the beginning of April.
She can't get out of bed by herself. She needs assistance for many of what are called, in the United States, the "Activities of Daily Living" (dressing, continence, feeding, transferring, bathing).
Mother's Day, last Sunday, was good for her. She had shrimp Newburg for lunch, courtesy of the rehab place, and then an Ultimate Chocolate Cake we bought for her. She wore a wrist corsage. Her grandson was there. All three of her sons were there. Her two daughter in laws were there.
Today, she didn't remember any of it.
Tomorrow she may not remember the out of town company that spent several hours with us, or the other relatives she FaceTimed with on their iPad.
Watching Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth II made me wonder: is it just us?
Does dementia exist in other countries? Are people this infirm? Is it a function of our environment? Our relative inactivity? Has "modern medicine" failed us?
But my mother in law was never inactive.
At one time she was so sharp we joked that she was sharper than either of us.
The other day she sat in the sun and asked two of her sons if it was sunny.
Yesterday, she couldn't remember where her autistic son lived.
She steers conversations to the past, talking about her honeymoon (in 1950) as if it was yesterday.
And it's only the beginning.
One day, we know, she won't recognize us. Already, she has forgotten that I work, and wondered (one day when I visited her on my lunchtime) where I had gone.
Without memory, do we even exist anymore?