Prologue II

Featured image: Raphael. Seated Youth Writing in Book, 17th/18th c. The Art Institute of Chicago essay from the Old French essai, an attempt,from the Latin exagium, a weighing Cynthia Ozick, an American essayist, describes the act of writing an essay as “walking around a thought." The words of my husband are the thoughts around which... Continue Reading →

Some Provisos

This is the story of our experience, as I understand it, in my husband's singularity and in mine. It's the story of dementia as it uniquely manifested itself in Dick Cain. It's a story that demonstrates the truism, “If you know one person with dementia, you know one person with dementia." ≈  I must admit... Continue Reading →

His Quest

During the middle phase of the disease, Dick often told me a story about a quest. His quest. I heard echoes of old legends in his tale, so I wrote it down. It evolved into the first essay I wrote for the collection, "When I Was a Young Man Courting the Girls." His story served... Continue Reading →

Brown-Eyed Handsome Man

Early in our relationship, I’d tacked a black-and-white photo of Dick on my cubicle wall at work. He’d been teaching me photography. The portrait was a practice shot I’d taken with his Nikon: reclining on the sofa, a white kitten on his chest, his head of wavy greying hair cushioned by the armrest, his dark... Continue Reading →

A Foretelling

A wedding gift foretold our lives in ways that Dick and I could not have imagined. Harry Dodge, the groomsman, gave us a pine box with dovetailed corners. He'd carved the story of Rapunzel on its sides and lid. The tale was a mirror of our marriage. Themes such as song, desire, blindness, and revelation... Continue Reading →

Wandering Blind

In their earliest version of Rapunzel, the Grimm Brothers tell us of trysts in the tower. The Prince's visits lead to a pregnancy. (In a later edition created for children, they removed that part of the story.)             Rapunzel naively wonders why her clothes have grown so tight. Furious at the betrayal, the witch chops... Continue Reading →

My Husband Has Dementia

The titles of my essays are quotations from something Dick said or wrote after the onset of his dementia. But these words are mine: My husband has dementia. How many times had I said those words over the decade before his death? And in the seven years prior to his diagnosis, how often had I... Continue Reading →

I’m Making More Mistakes

In 1998, he was sixty-six and often seemed lost in thought. He told me, "I'm making more mistakes. You point them out to me. I'm not objecting to the fact that you do that, but it depresses me. As I get older, I'll be making more mistakes."             Age had begun to shade his temples... Continue Reading →


The medical researcher Jerome Groopman reminds us that, "science operates around a core of uncertainty, within which lie setbacks." But, he adds, "also hope."             Emily Dickinson tells us that, "hope is the thing with feathers." My heart held scant perches for hope. I hoped my husband would continue to recognize me. I hoped that... Continue Reading →

Terrified of Losing You

The disappearance of a beloved happens in many ways, for many reasons. People change. Grow remote. Divorce. Move away. Lose touch. Get ill. Die. In our case, we held on to a long love in the face of loss upon loss. He had dementia, but he didn't disappear. Neither did I. We continued to see... Continue Reading →

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