| Facey Like Yours - Evelynn and Peter|
It’s been awmaist six year since she wis first diagnosed. Ever since then Ah’ve had tae witness maist o the things Ah loved aboot her fade away, for example her passion for her job. She worked in a secondary school teaching history; she adored her job and wid aye come hame wi a smile on her face, then go on tae tell me everything that happened throughout that day. Evelynn loved talking. She’d talk for ages, aboot anything and tae anyone. We used tae talk for oors on end and noo we barely last ten meenits as oor conversations are just the same question asked ower and ower again.
Sometimes a wid find her wandering aroond the house panicking cause she coudnae find the bathroom, even though she’d already walked past it aboot a hunner times. Ah thought this wis as bad as it wis going tae get.
There were days where it wis like the auld Evelynn had returned. They caw them lucid periods. They happen rarely in patients wi Alzheimer’s, some don’t get them at aw. The first and only time she went through wan Ah thought it wis some sort o miracle, that ma wife had been cured o this incurable disease. Ah went tae the doctor straight away beaming wi joy; Ah wis gubbed when he telt me whit it really wis.
Her disease has caused awmaist complete isolation between us and the ootside world. Ah don’t feel comfortable leaving her in the hoose by hersel an taking her oot makes me anxious as Ah’m always feart Ah’ll lose her. Ah havnae seen maist o ma friends in months, maybe even years. That may have been the reason Ah actually considered going oot when Ah received an invite tae meet up wi them aw. Looking back on that night, Ah was stupit tae think that it wid aw be fine. Ah had never left her for fifteen meenits let alone an oor and when Ah did it wis anely across the road wi ma eyes glued tae the hoose at aw times.
Ah have it aw sorted. Ah’ve organized for wan o the neighbours tae check in on her every so often. Ah’m awmaist inside the car when Ah had a rush o uncertainty aboot whether or no tae go. Ah see Mrs Avery come oot fae her hoose, looking puzzled as tae why Ah wis still here. Ah gave her a wave and then got into the car.
Ah arrived at the local pub where Ah had arranged tae meet them aw for a few rounds o drinks.
Ah hear fae ower in the far corner. Ah’m last tae show up. Awmaist in sync everybody rises fae their seats tae come ower and greet me. There’s a lot o, “Long time no see” and “You look different, fae the last time a seen ye.” Once we’re aw ower the excitement o seeing each other, it’s straight into conversation. Ah barely even notice the time it’s as if aw thought o Evelynn has just escaped from ma mind. Ah finally get a free moment to check the time and Ah’m shocked Ah’ve been here fae ower two oors. Ah race oot the bar, forgetting tae even say goodbye. Aw that’s going through ma mind is, “Whit if Mrs Avery has stopped checking in Ah anely said an oor”. Ah’m sae focused on getting hame fast, that Ah awmaist don’t recognise the woman who has just crossed ma path. It’s her.
“She’s gone, I’ve lost her.” withoot saying a thing Ah take aff, determined tae find her. Ah’ve been looking for aboot half an oor, she could be onywhere by now. Just as Ah’ve awmaist lost aw hope, she comes round the corner. Ah race ower tae her. She’s pale and shivering anely in her night dress.
That night is wan o the main reasons Ah made the decision Ah did; Ah coudnae even dae a small thing like spend a night wi ma friends withoot having that constant fear now.
We arrive at the rather grand entrance; ma eyes are quick tae examine the space in front o me. There is one relatively small two storey building; the rest o the area is covered in grass, plants and trees.
We are greeted at the door by an awfully smiley nurse, who takes Evelynn’s arm and is keen tae show us aboot. As we go round Ah’m trying tae find a fault in this place, something that’ll give me a reason nae tae leave her here. Ah can’t.
The nurse takes us tae a seating area where maist o the other patients are. The facility is mainly for people wi Alzheimer’s, it houses fourteen others an now Evelynn. It’s like the roles have reversed; Evelynn is no longer the “odd one out”. Ah feel like Ah’m the one who has some sort o disease and everyone else is normal.
She seems content. Ah feel like now wid be an appropriate time tae leave. Ah signal the nurse who takes Evelynn ower tae the door wi me. Ah reach out to give her a hug, but she remains still wi a look o confusion ower her face.
“Well goodbye, Ah’ll be back tae see ye soon”
Nae response. Ah accept it and walk oot the main door heading towards the car; however, Ah notice her trying tae follow me.
“Ye are going tae be staying here now, but don’t worry Ah’ll be in tae visit ye awmaist every day.”
Ah reassure her.
“No… I need to… I need to go home…”
She says in her soft and gentle voice.
“This is yer new hame now”
Ah continue the walk ower tae the car, when Ah’m awmaist stopped in ma tracks by the sound o this loud and demanding voice which Ah coudnae believe came fae ma Evelynn.
“Don’t leave me, Peter!”
It had tae be done; Ah had tae leave her there. As Ah was pulling oot the entrance, Ah could see her in the rear view mirror wi the nurse holding her in place. “Ah’m daein the right thing,” Ah keep telling masel, but it doesnae make me feel ony better.
Still cannae believe, for the first time in ages, she remembered ma name.
by Amy Macdonald