He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of fifty-two. It started with forgetting where he put the nails in his backyard shed, or forgetting what he'd done five minutes ago. he'd comment about the baseball scores and how the st Louis Cardinals would surely get to the finals that season, forgetting that they had lost to the Boston Red Sox the night before. Then he realised that he started blending time - discolouring and stripping it of its depth, he would look at the clock and realise he had wasted two hours staring at a meaningless TV screen.
He took great care to hide these glitches from his wife. He told her he'd talked with a friend on his way to the grocer's and that the conversation had kept him from buying the bread and butter. He made lists of things to do each day, wrote out directions for himself when he drove around town.
And one day a visit to the doctor's confirmed his dreaded suspicions. They put him drugs, useless medication that he knew would not slow this aggressive snowball from rolling down faster, rolling his memories and brain into a still, bare echo. He'd heard of Alzheimer's. He knew it was a lost battle, a blind-folded rush to the unkown. He dreaded its avid clutches stealing away his life, and he finally understood how precious and beautiful memories were, how sweet and kind life had been to him. He wanted to cherish his remaining years. He wanted to live the rest of his life the way he'd always wanted to.
All too soon, though, he found how meaningless time was and how little difference there was between ten minutes and ten days and ten years. He rediscovered the feeling of dependency and joy at small miracles like laughter. He did not realise he moved to a nursing home. He did not remember the fear in his wife's eyes after he saw red. But for brief moments he would remember the fading imprints of the feel of his wife's hands on his. Sometimes he would bask in his chair and listen to the red cardinals from his room when he still could marvel at the beauty of nature. And when he couldn't hold his cutlery anymore and had to wear diapers his eyes still held a peace. When he couldn't speak anymore he still heard. And in his last moments, when he was just a dead living, he still felt his wife's presence, still felt his red heart pumping feebly each second. And then his heart ceased.
And a lifetime of memories flew forth.