Months To Years Fall 2018 Months To Years Fall 2018 - Page 53

cutting down, trying to make our money go further. And reappearing, growing brighter from another vantage streaks of gray point, like another John’s doorway. me to keep up with we might have a child, even though I am very unsure and no dimple in his particulars she ratt about that since I feel complete with life as it is. I wonder chin. He is so When very we much what the compass is for making such a decision. walk down the mountain, my mother and off. It sings amounted to playful in her hot pink sun visor and her matching like John, but dances, the cold fact—my husband w I feel like the squirrel I startled the other day while out pink backpack. Her body is shrinking, but her spirit is not. reality is that he’s very sick. on my run. It had been busily scurrying and planning As I watch her, I am overcome by a rush of affection for a stranger and John for winter, rushing to stockpile supplies for the upcoming her—for her vibrancy, her joyful spirit and her kindness. is not here. cold. Hearing me approach, it skittered away, an acorn She is still so very much here, and I memorize the sound “ “ “ in its mouth, looking pleased with itself. I wondered how it of her laughter, trying to bury this moment with her in a would fare once the snow fell, whether that acorn would permanent cache inside me. would be enough supply to last the freeze. I remember the squirrels outside my window at home in Boston spent the whole autumn preparing their winter hideaway— tucked in a hole in a tree— only to lose that tree when a large branch snapped unexpectedly from its trunk, crushing a car below. Our busyness and preparations can seem futile sometimes, and even if we do everything we know to do, it can all come apart. Have you ever smelled the coming dark? The way the plants breathe out a musty sigh, a thick whispered greeting to the gathering quiet? The way the dirt is overtaken by shadow and it holds its moisture close, making fragrant its cold stone? “ be eaten, and whether there It is strange preparing to build and settle a home when my My husband asks us all to guess like the to what time we’ll People make it down talk ab mountain. We make a bet survivors on the cancer hav minute we’ll reach car. 3:32, a the new lease on life I say. 3:39, he says. 3:51, says new or renewed sen my mother. Have I gauged the of purpose, a desi earlier 3:32 time based on her to capacity, drink up younger speed and the the wo speed at which we as would usually they relish ever rush down the mountain as it moment of time became colder? That didn’t happen All clip, I felt was g We skip down at me. a quick and with grief our shoes turning dusty red and los dirt. We are going so quickly that I think I may win the bet. The temperature is dropping, mother stands at the other end of life. She talks of the as there is no longer sun to warm us and we pass into the possibility of one day moving closer to us, so that we mountain’s shadow. can take care of her when she needs it. We discuss the   lineage of Alzheimer’s in our family and the holes she feels And then, there, in front of us, as we round a bend, we growing in her mind, how she struggles to remember faces, come upon four deer.  They raise their heads from their how dementia sits like a seed in her head, germinating. grazing, blink at us, flick their ears back, but they don’t She sees a doctor for the gaps in her brain, and with the bother to leave. We stop to watch them, the red rocks doctor’s help, she is effectively staving off deterioration steep and layered behind them, the grass turning pink with a low-carb diet and brain exercises such as word from sunset. We are losing time, and I realize I will no puzzles and math riddles. As I watch her become lighter, longer win the bet. ridding herself of excess possessions and body weight and even unwillingly shedding some of her memories, I I remember then how, a few days ago, my mother had fear she is fading away from me now. Or maybe it’s that asked me, “Danielle, when is a moment in your life when she is appearing somewhere else, fading from here and you felt time stand still?” 56 53