Yesterday, February 12th was three years since my husband passed away and many thoughts flitted through my mind while standing at the cemetery, staring down at his tombstone.
I remembered how shocked I was when he’d told me that many of his possessions had taken to hiding in mischievous places, and then I thought back to the time we’d visited Prague. And that was where I first realized that he had a serious problem. We spent carefree days walking through that interesting city, holding hands and absorbing its various sights and sounds. One particular day, I felt tired, so sat down on a bench in one of the squares where many other tourists milled around and my husband decided to walk some more and said that he would be back in half an hour. When it started to rain, the square emptied fast. The tourists left, and I took cover in front of a quaint store. An hour passed, then another, and I realized that my husband might have forgotten the name of the square. I hadn’t checked whether he had the card with our hotel’s name on it in his possession; something we always took with, no matter where we were. I felt sick with worry and anxiety. Until then, he had been the one with the good sense of direction and in those days, strange as it may seem, there were no mobile phones. The helpless feeling I felt then, still haunts me. It seemed like a lifetime later when a police car drew up to the now deserted square and a policeman got out with my husband. He asked me whether I recognized the man with him. “Yes, that’s my husband and thanks for bringing him back. But how on earth did you find me without having the name of the square?” In rather broken English he explained that they had driven to every square-shaped tourist site in Prague. I felt so relieved that I almost kissed him, and thanked him profusely. My husband seemed a bit embarrassed but showed no outer signs of agitation. However, he was unable to explain what had happened to his once amazing memory. Much later, I realized hat he had momentarily become confused and that his whereabouts had become foggy, to say the very least. We returned to our hotel and from that moment on, I did not let him out of my sight. The following morning he wanted to go for an early morning walk before breakfast, having no recollection of the previous day’s adventure.
On our return home, we visited a geriatric neurologist and the diagnosis of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s, slowly crept into the picture. We miss him a lot.