Memory Health: Alzheimer's Support Group
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What you see is not always what you get

God morning everyone,

My wife and I were preparing dinner yesterday, enjoying the time together when I had an interesting occurrence. The first of what I'm afraid will be many.

As we were finishing the preparation, I took a pan we were finished with to the sink to wash. As I was mindlessly going through the process, I was staring out the kitchen window. This was the moment. I knew it physically wasn't possible, I'm still that lucid thankfully, so I didn't get excited or worried, but I saw a row of people standing just outside the railing of our upstairs deck, dancing back and forth. As I said, I realized it wasn't possible for them to be standing in midair, dancing rhythmically in my back yard. So I casually motioned my wife over and said "now don't get excited because I know this can't be, but why are those people standing outside our deck?" Let me tell you, that will get you a strange/concerned look really quickly. She looked out to where I was indicating, looked back at me and asked what I was seeing. I explained and saw a sad look cross her face. My "people" were the arborvitae we had planted years ago as a wind break. Even after her pointing this out and the realization occurring in my mind, I still saw the people , standing on invisible stilts, swaying silently to unheard music.

As the realization sunk in that I had probably had my first hallucination, a slow process of acceptance started to take place. Until I remembered the fleeting look of sadness on my wife's face. She knows this means things are progressing. She realizes every time something like this happens there is the unspoken knowledge that our time together has just shortened a bit more. As this sinks in, my acceptance of my own fate slowly fades into sadness.. sadness for all that I will be and am putting this dear lady and the rest of my family through. They didn't sign up for this and definitely don't deserve such a future. Not that I believe they will shy from it. The only thing I can do is be honest with them as to what's happening with me as it occurs, help them to stay educated, and spend every quality moment I can with them. I want them to have happy memories.

So, now, from this time forward, do I have to question what I'm seeing? Can I feel comfortable in my own reality? Firmly planted on solid ground? Only time will tell. I'll keep you posted.


2 Replies

Thank you for sharing this intimate moment, Randy, and its implications for yourself, your wife and your family. You're right, they didn't sign up for this, but they love you and every moment with you is precious and something to be treasured now and memories that will be cherished much later, remembering the things that you shared with them when they were happening.

Your post has profoundly impacted me as it invites me into the intimacy of that moment shared with your wife. I feel sadness for each of you but you are also educating me and for that I am grateful. Thank you for your transparency in this post.


Thank you for your honesty. Only time will be our witness. Our loved ones are accutely aware of what is happening to us. Sometimes I want to say something like stop watching me so closely, or ask if something they asked me was a test.

I observe myself as best I can, but it's ridiculous for me to think I would "out" myself if I noticed something amiss.

I appreciate your sharing. It helps put a very real human face on our condition.