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 →

Dialogue with Death

Over the years of his dementia, we'd endured many deaths: the death of hopes; the death of rich discourse; the death of sexual intimacy; the death of shared memories.             From the outset, Dick and I held a dialogue with death. We would have been foolish not to. Dick was seventeen years my senior. His... Continue Reading →

Out of Our Heads with Joy

To marry is to walk together on an uncharted road. Neither of us could have predicted where it would lead us. As Wendell Berry says in a poem addressed to his wife: "You are the known way leading always to the unknown, / and you are the known place to which the unknown is always... Continue Reading →


Dick made a valiant effort not to forget. Regularly, and always in the same order, he would repeat: Jenny, Anna, Joe, Calvin, Doris, Stephanie, Alden, Jim, Rosie, Grace, and Ashlyn. He learned his list of family names by heart.          To “learn by heart” probably comes from the Old Testament. When Solomon imparts his words... Continue Reading →


Ever since Adam and Eve, humans seem compelled to name things—the earth’s flora and fauna, subatomic particles, celestial phenomena, cloud formations and winds, the vagaries of the weather, and our own inner weathers and workings.          Explorers and scientists label geographic places and landforms, the matter and minutiae and mechanics of the heavens and the... Continue Reading →

Washing the Feet

When I bathed my husband, I'd lean over the tub and wedge the washcloth between his toes, clamped so tightly one to the other. As I rubbed each foot, sometimes he'd say, "I appreciate you doing this."           I wonder why Dick said that at that very moment. What is it about foot washing that... Continue Reading →

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