Sam’s Memory

SeasonsThe day that Sam went searching for his pajamas in the attic, Jody thought it was time to have a talk about forgetfulness.

“I think you ought to visit a doctor, just to get a diagnosis on this confusion.”

He cocked his gray head to the side like he had done a million times in her life. He was digging in for the long fight. “I’m not forgetful.”

“Well, sometimes you are.”

“Prove it.” He hadn’t moved his head yet but his chin was pointed toward her. Once it had been the signal to take cover.

But not this time.

“Remember the time you couldn’t find your back brush? And it was hanging in the shower where it was supposed to be.”

His eyes glazed for a moment and then sharpened. “Everyone forgets things sometimes. You forget things, too.”

She didn’t want to do this. “Not like that.”

“Give me a test.”

“All right. Do you think you can count backwards from a hundred by threes?” Jody had read that test in an article somewhere and figured it was worth a try.

“Of course I can. One hundred. Uh, ninety—“He drew in a long breath. “I don’t want to do it right now. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. You can’t do it either.”

She could and she proved it. “Please, Dad. I just want to see if there’s something to help you. That’s all.”

“You think I have Alzheimer’s, don’t you”

“I really don’t know. That’s why I’d like a diagnosis.”

“Well,” he tossed his head back now. “I don’t. I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to get that. So I don’t.”

She gave up.

He lived two more years and never visited a doctor about his forgetfulness.

Jody didn’t learn how severe the dementia was. But in his last days, Sam still knew every family member who visited him.

For Jody, that was enough.


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