Friday, February 28, 2014

The Long Goodbye is Over

As soon as I learned that my brother was in the last stages of his Alzheimer's, I was distracted, angry, sad, keen to do something if only I knew what.  For a week I ached and cried at the oddest times over the oddest things and tried to behave like a grown up--never my strong suit--and walked a bit like someone who had been too long at sea because I thought I had lost an essential mooring.

But it was Alzheimer's that lost. It ravaged my brother like a demon sucking him nearly dry, but when he tumbled over the edge into that world we cannot see, he took Alzheimer's with him.  Now my brother is free, and I have him back.

I do understand the physics of the northern lights, but one of the many gifts from my brother to me is the certainty that there is always a plurality in ways of looking at things. Last night the northern lights were dancing on the horizon. I stood on the crest of the hill just outside and looked into a sky that clearly welcomed my brother into its midst. Heartsease.

Today I hung tea towels on the line and watched them dancing like prayer flags in the wind. I suspect it was that complexity of thought that made Alzheimer's so jealous that it had to silence my brother, but everyone who knew him will carry it on. We can't all be stopped.