I make sure to let him know how much I love him and that missing him would have never been my choice. “You are going to be a hard man to forget,” I wrote to him two weeks after our break-up as I was crying and he was not.
He wrote back to say, “I don’t plan on forgetting you, at least until Alzheimer’s kicks in and wipes my mind.”
I cringed to read his words because I know that he might have that fate. Alzheimer’s is a disease I am familiar with. I know that evidence gathered in studies points to the mother as the genetic predisposition. I know because I was there as my own grandmother slowly perished from the disease. I was there to change her diapers. I was there when she lashed out, punching and combative, because she no longer knew what was real and what was past memory. It was like her mind was unraveling as her life played backwards until one day she could no longer remember how to get out of bed. Then we listened to her howl like a living ghosts. My grandfather and I would sit in the living room as she wailed without any way for us to comfort her. Hours of the same groan. My grandfather had tears rolling down his cheek when he admitted, “Sometimes I think of putting a pillow over her face so she does not suffer anymore. I stand over her and find that I can’t. I kiss her forehead instead. I hate that I can’t help her. Love can not be this. I should not be letting this happen.”
Why is this happening…? My heart whispers the question like there should be an answer. “Why couldn’t God just let you be my person?” I asked my ex-boyfriend as we sat together in the park as friends instead of lovers. “I don’t understand why he would let me love you if it couldn’t be right and forever. We could have been ‘The Notebook’. I could have written our life story over the years so that when you forget I can help you remember. Now I won’t be there to take care of you. Who is going to take care of you?”
His eyes softened as he pulled me in for a hug. “Hey, don’t worry about me. I will be just fine you and you are going to be happy. I want you to focus on that. I want you to finish this plan that you started. I want you to win. I will be here to help you until you are ready to move on. You are very special to me.”
I know that I will need to move on. Yes, he is right and true. I will need to move on, but I don’t want to. I will because I must. Right now I am exactly where I want to be. I am making memories one of us will forget. Who will remember when we go? Who will remember that we had a love that mattered?