I’ve been reading back through some of my note books from my Wilder Running experiences and thought I would share some of my writing because my brain is barely functional. So tonight I present Behind Her Face:
Behind her face is someone that no longer remembers the name of her husband even though he spends every night sitting by her side, helping her eat dinner. Behind her face is a woman that used to travel the world, served dignitaries, celebrities and diplomats; but now can;t remember why she has clothes on and is constantly trying to disrobe in public. Behind her face is a teacher, a wife, a mother, an artist, a survivor of World Wars, a banker, a realtor, a scientist, a writer. But all of that is gone now, the memories erased as the sections of the brain begin to die and are wiped clean like an eraser on a chalkboard.
They are loved deeply, learned much and witnessed the world change in ways I can only imagine. But today they will need someone to wake them, bath and dress them, take them to the bathroom, help them eat their meals, play bingo, work a puzzle and remind them that they live here now and that the child that died years ago is okay. You know the sense of loss you’ve seen it in so many faces over the years. Men who built spaceships and helped Neil Armstrong step on the moon, unable to remember your name; but they think you are pretty and want to know if you want to go out on a date. Behind her face is more life than you will ever be able to live and yet she remembers none of it, a blank slate. Behind her face are the children that don’t understand, she might look like your mother, but mother is really gone, robbed of her memories by the cruelest of cruel disease.
Behind her face is the inability to cry, to tap into the fear, pain, grief that is just underneath the surface. Behind her face is a brain that wonders how many more years can she put up with the regulatory environment that says you’re guilty until you prove yourself innocent, that asks you to do more but pays you less. Behind her face is a person that cares deeply, takes time to hold your hand, comfort you when you have glimpses of the person you used to be, the life you lived and the children that abandoned you in the nursing home. Behind her face is someone that loves.