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Sweet Jane

I didn’t know her very well.  Actually, I didn’t know her at all…this tiny wisp of a woman named Jane.

I used to see her walk by my house.  She never looked my way and she never spoke but I could hear her mumbling to herself.

Rain or shine, freezing cold or blistering hot, she walked.  Sometimes I would see her husband Ed, walking with her.  Slow and steady, always with his arms behind his back as if trying not to seem aggressive.  He patiently walked with her, knowing that she no longer knew who he was.

Several months later, I noticed that she seemed to be more and more confused.  She would have on pajamas, with no coat and wearing mismatched shoes, carrying the mates in her arms.

A few times, I coaxed her onto my side porch.  She showed me the things she was holding like they were her most valuable collections.  Paper plates, sweaters, shirts and cards.  She said she was on the way to give them to somebody but she wasn’t sure they would want them.

Eventually, I would text Ed and tell him that Jane was “loose.”  He would come tearing around the corner, looking for her.  She got lost several times and the police escorted her home.

I would find her wandering around in my yard and young son would take her hand and lead her home.  Sometimes I would walk with her and try to get her to come to my house so I could call Ed.

She had an unassuming elegance about her and even though who she used to be was lost, her eyes danced when accompanied by a rare smile…this woman named Jane.  The ravages of time and disease had taken their toll but you could tell that at one time she was a great beauty.

Last week, Ed had to put her in a home.  He cried on my shoulder when he told me the last thing she said to him before he left.

“Please.  Can you tell me my name?”

27 thoughts on “Sweet Jane

    • I tried to be kind to them. After Ed put her in the home, young son said “now Ed’s going to be alone.” I told him that Ed had been alone for a long time. His Jane had left long ago. There’s nothing good about that disease but I think there is something merciful. They forget everything so they don’t grieve like their loved ones do. They just don’t know what has happened.
      So so sad.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was just sitting out on my porch, thinking Jane won’t be walking by anymore. It was gut-wrenching for me to watch it happen but I cannot imagine what it’s like for those, like you, who witnessed it happen to a loved one.


  1. I am hearing these stories more and more and they never get easier. My friend has her own mother in a home with Alzheimer’s, her father-in-law in a home with all manner of diseases and dementia, and her mother-in-law still at home but with dementia. She herself teaches elder care and dementia. Life can be very unfair. I am so sorry anout your neighbour. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This brought me to tears. It’s so sad seeing people living with dementia. While it’s a cruel disease a small part of me thinks it’s a good thing they don’t comprehend what’s happening with them or at least I hope they don’t. Watching my grandmother and now my mother go through it is tough. Even though my mom and I have a “special” sort of relationship I still feel protective of her when she’s not annoying me. It’s so difficult going to the nursing home and not just seeing my mother but the other residents as well in varying stages of the disease. Thanks for sharing Laurel. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been fortunate that Dementia or Alzheimer’s has not touched my family directly. Even so, watching Jane literally deteriorate in front of me was so difficult. I often wondered if the reason she loved to walk so much was because she was trying to find something that would remind her who she was? I don’t know. Her wonderful husband was so patient and kind…like a husband is supposed to be. And you know…you can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to lose a mother or father or grandparents, unless you have experienced it first hand.
      Jane was just my sweet neighbor. I can’t imagine the pain I would have felt, had she been my mama.
      Stay strong Steph. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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