Topics | Dementia | The Sun Magazine #6


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Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Not At This Address

My mother, my uncle tells me, has lost her wits. She lets a group of neighborhood kids into her house. They steal from her. Worse yet, she gives them money. Blank checks. She signs the checks, and these kids fill in whatever amounts they want. “They’re robbing her,” he says, “robbing her blind.”

By Lee Martin April 1999
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Perpetual Motion

Every spring for ten years, Da told me he was dying. The pattern was always the same. For the next three months he’d plan and revise his funeral, then patiently await his demise on July 15, the anniversary of Mother’s death. Despite his determination, the worst illness he could muster was a tiny patch of skin cancer one year, which the doctor removed during an office visit.

By Kay Marie Porterfield January 1999

My Father Swims Away

As my mother’s coffin was lowered into the ground, my father whispered to me out of the side of his mouth, “Spike, who’s in there?”

By Corey Fischer July 1997
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

How I Find Her

“Do you mean going out in the car and running errands, getting things done? Do you feel you should be doing that now?” I’m trying to find a brain wave I can ride to shore with her. She was always such a strong swimmer. I remember her arms especially, how they’d slice through the blue water at the pool when I was a kid.

By Gene Zeiger June 1997
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Parents’ Furniture

Life is a sitcom; our pain is so ordinary, it’s laughable. Almost everybody goes through this at one time or another. The realtor tells me our society is becoming mobile. I agree. But I wish I didn’t have to sell my parents’ house.

By Jake Gaskins May 1996
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Lighting The Candles

Because she is old, my mother performs the Sabbath ritual very slowly. Sitting in front of the brass candlesticks given to her by her mother, she looks as if God is pressing down hard on the top of her head. Her face juts forward, and the top of her back is rounded. Because she is demented and her short-term memory is shot, it’s impossible to have a conversation with her.

By Gene Zeiger November 1995

Last Leg

Tripod has been peacefully asleep for many minutes, yet I am still running my hand from her ear down to her hip, stroking her again and again. But now I remember why I brought her here, and I look up into the solemn face of the old vet and nod.

By Kristin Levine January 1994
Readers Write

A Perfect Moment

An intuitive decision, a trip to the park, a confluence of yellow

By Our Readers March 1993
Readers Write


Having to choose, clutching a doll, finding it hard to say goodbye

By Our Readers May 1992
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Of Lineage And Love

When he was old, I tried to introduce him to the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness; I thought it would ease any anxiety he might be having about the imminence of death. “Ultimately,” I began, “you never were.” “Maybe not,” he said, peering over the rim of his glasses, “but I made a hell of a splash where I should have been.”

By Stephen T. Butterfield May 1991