Months To Years Winter 2019 Months To Years Winter 2019 - Page 24

By Touch Be Known By Cheryl Merrill By fall Dad is incontinent and, even with a walker, of tears just behind the surface of her eyes. has forgotten that one foot needs to go before Back at his car my uncle exclaims “Jesus!” His the other. The twin who switched in the middle hand is on the door handle. “Jesus,” he repeats of double dates no longer remembers he has a and looks at the ground. brother. I walk down to the beach near the adult home where he lives, sit on the log where we often “Is it Alzheimer’s?” Fran asks. sat, and watch the waves. I think about how both of us are caught in the green curl of life, our “Hard to know,” I tell her. “The only way to be paths braided together, all the way to the end. certain would be an autopsy.” The next day Dad’s sister Fran and his identical “No autopsy,” she says. twin brother Harold come from Eastern Washington for a visit, a three-hour trip, one- “No autopsy,” Harold repeats, still looking at the way. Hard on them at their age. Side by side, ground. the twins are no longer identical. Dad is just a smudged likeness, fading and shapeless. They drive away, two stiff figures not once looking back. I mediate a one-sided conversation with Harold and Fran, while Dad looks at the strangers sitting Later that month the owner of Laurel Gardens in front of him; his eyes wander from one face to requests that we set a meeting to talk about Dad. the other and back. Finally, he just looks at his I sit in my car for long moments and stare out the hands folded together in his lap. windshield before going inside. It can’t be good news. A few russet leaves from the crabapple tree My uncle is speechless for one of the few times in by the front door blow against my wipers and his life - possibly, no, probably terrified at what he stick there in the rain. It’s almost Thanksgiving. sees. Fran, always placid and stoic, holds a bulge 24