It hits the floor, rolls under the mahogany furniture, forgotten forever. Or at least that is how I envisioned this possibility.
Instead I walk up the stairs, find Mom in the sunroom. She has a new cozy pillow and is smiling widely. She recognizes me. Or so I hope.
We exchange our hugs and kisses, our hi’s and how are you’s, and spend a moment, each with big smiles. At one point, I glance down and see a passing of silver and then gone again.
I stand up and over Mom, trying to cradle her hand, and realize she has taken off her wedding ring, and has it barely hanging on her pointer finger.
“Oh gosh how did this happen!” I say and we both giggle. As I slip it on her ring finger again, I realize how easily it now moves.
I have never seen her without it. This band is always on her hand and in her heart.
Later after sister arrives, we decide to take it with us and not run the risk of losing it forever. Sis says I can take it- I do, but tell her soon we will put it away with all the other items. It doesn’t need to be mine nor do we need to decide now. But for the moment, it goes on my right hand for safekeeping.
Hours later, it still remains on my finger. I don’t want to take it off. It feels foreign, as it obviously hasn’t earned a common and snug feeling. And yet it does not feel strange, it feels comforting. I am wearing it to protect it, but it adds an element of security for me.
I don’t know how to go about this. I don’t know how to linger as we let go. I don’t know how to lose my parents, when the outside tells me to focus on creating this role for my own.
Of course, this is not the ring I thought I would cling to at this moment in my life. It sits on the opposite hand, better rooted from falling away. It represents the past, a beautiful one. While it’s shape denotes no ending, it’s presence is an ominous sign of slipping away.
And yet, it is one that surprised me. One that fills my heart with joy and sadness in separate spaces. On my hand in this moment, it breathes new life.
These moments remind me of the trickiness of this disease. There is no easy pattern to follow, no foolproof guide to tell you what to expect. Maybe she will always remember us, maybe she won’t. Maybe she will laugh and giggle until her final days, or maybe she will change so radically in front of us. While Alzheimer’s has expedited her life, the current reality is painstaking in duration.