For more than a decade, I held pairs of antithetical concepts in a deft balance. The clean line between this / that blurs when living with dementia. During the final few years of his life, my husband retained his selfhood, but he also entered transitory states of unselfing. He was both himself and self-less, both present and absent, both here and away.
When Dick was away, he was still here; he just wasn’t present to me in the usual sense. At first, I feared dementia’s awayness until I learned to swing on the pendulum of away / here, absent / present, unselfed / self.
I learned to feel his presence in the absences.