by Marie Elena
I wonder if you smiled after tucking me in at night, as I yelled, “I love you and I like you,” until I heard you reach the bottom of the stairs.
When I was in high school, you and I would often walk Naples’ beach. I told you how much I enjoyed our beach walks. You told me I would get a boyfriend, and would no longer choose to walk the beach with you. I got that boyfriend, and spent a great deal of my waking hours with him.
I wonder if you smiled each time I asked you to walk the beach with me.
Even through my teen years, you made sure you were home when I got home from school. You didn’t want me coming home to an empty house. You stopped whatever you were doing, and took time to talk. Even then, I understood the blessing of that.
I wonder if you smiled whenever you remembered me telling you I appreciated coming home to you.
I believe early Alzheimer’s began to separate you from yourself. I think you recognized that, and feared eventual separation from all of us. Perhaps that’s why you began saying, “I love you. You know that.” You wanted to make sure your love for us was so deeply rooted that there was little risk of it getting lost somewhere in a possible future of unknowingness. You know that. That little phrase attached to I love you was part of who you were. Yes, we knew that. You were kind, and good. You loved well.
I wonder if you smiled somewhere inside when I whispered, “I love you and I like you,” in those final days when you were growing less responsive.
© Marie Elena Good, 2020