Did You See It?

At the junction with the “Great” conjunction

So, I have this blog thing. You are right; I should not start a sentence with a conjunction. Even if it is a post about a conjunction. Just pretend that I was using the word “so” as another part of speech that the word so can perform, so that we can continue. So is so useful.

Anyway, I have this blog thing. Sometimes I just do not know what to write. That makes it so hard to keep the blog thing going. There are so many important people writing about so many important things, and then there is me, writing about how I do not know what to write about. So sad. So so.

Enough about my writing, did you see it? The Great Conjunction? My friend reminded me that there was supposed to be a cool astronomical alignment on December 21, so I went outside just after sunset to see for myself. Ooh, so again.

I got the compass app fired up on my smart (so much smarter than me) phone and found southwest. You would think that since I live in Arizona I would know which direction was southwest, but once again, I amazed myself. I would not have looked in that direction. We should align streets to the compass points. So much easier. Ooh, more so.

After ascertaining the correct alignment, I looked just above the horizon and lo and behold, there it was. The Great Conjunction. I will admit I was so underwhelmed. Two adjacent pinpoints of light, one decidedly brighter than the other, both bright enough to cut through the light pollution. However, not so great. So again.

So as not to be so disappointed (so used as two parts of speech?), I decided to Google the Great Conjunction. I guess I should have been so much more impressed. Apparently, this conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter happens about once every twenty years, but a nighttime alignment as close as this alignment has not happened in 800 years! So cool! However, every time I hear the word conjunction I think of this. So sad.

Image courtesy of NASA (I think). Conjunction Junction video courtesy of Disney (I think). Please don’t sue me. You won’t get much.

When Memory Fades

How cognitive degeneration in a loved one can cause self-doubt

Hello gentle reader(s). This one is a bit of a wallow. I hope you continue reading, but you will not be thought less of if you stop reading now.

Although I’m not really the eternal optimist (can you be both a cynic and an optimist?) I guess I always figure it’s going to get better. No matter how bad it seems, it will eventually get better. Eventually. So here it goes.

Tonight I invited my mother, father and aunt over for dinner. The average age of this group, excluding me, is about 90 years young. My mom (87) and my aunt (91) are both still with it, but my dad (90) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago. He’s fading, not fast, but more noticeably.

We were all at the table, dinner was done, and the talk was about my house and the improvements I could make, and what the house might have looked like before the previous owners made their changes.

Dad was trying to participate in the conversation, but it was soon evident that he had forgotten where he was and who I was. Despite the fact that I have been his son for a long and intentionally-unrevealed-to-the-reader time, and despite the fact that he has been coming to my house on a nearly daily basis for the past six months, he continued to tell us how much this house we were in reminded him of his son’s house.

My aunt dealt with my uncle’s Alzheimer’s for more than 10 years. His care became too burdensome for her and he recently passed after 18 months in a memory care facility. She recognized what was happening in the conversation, and I’m sure my mom recognized what was happening as well. Mom’s been coached by my aunt and by her caregiver’s support group throughout dad’s struggles.

I also recognized what was happening, but it didn’t keep me from trying to bring him back to the present reality. I introduced myself, reminded him where he was, but try as I might it didn’t seem to work.

As they left I walked them to the car, but I still don’t think he knew who I was, or that this was the same house he would come to tomorrow. I’m pretty sure that when I see him tomorrow he will remember who I am and that this is my house. At least for a while. But he will never remember our conversations tonight.

I hope I had enough conversations with him when he could remember. But I will never know. I think we’ll be talking a lot more from now on. Even if he can’t remember.