I just had to tell you how touched I was by Ginnie Horst Burkholder's essay “Dance of Loss” about her husband's Lewy body dementia [SPEAK UP, July/August 2006]. My dear mother, Evelyn, got dementia at age 72. I saw my mother—a woman full of joy who always smiled, heartily laughed, happily sang—slip away mentally. The last words I heard her say to me were “You're putting on weight, honey.” And she never spoke to me, or anybody else, for the next 10 years. Not one single word. She had to go to a nursing home. She just stared at me, my brother, and my sister for the next 10 years. She died at age 82.
I weep for her still. I weep for the mother who suffered. I weep for the mother I lost to dementia at 72—and for the mother I lost to the physical death at 82. Yes, I can relate to “Dance of Loss.”
Sioux City, Iowa