Eons ago, after I graduated from college, I lived with my friends, Betsy, Joanie and Joyce. Only Joanie and I stayed in the same city, so my contacts with the other two have been few, especially in recent years.
But Betsy and her husband were in town last weekend for a reunion of her husband's law school class, and they visited us. Honestly, it was as though we had never been apart—laughing like old times.
I asked about our roommate Joyce's husband because he was fifteen years older than she when they married, and I didn't know if he was still alive. He is. But this once highly energetic and charming man has dementia plus physical problems and requires care 24/7. This led us to a quality of life discussion, and that's when Betsy told us about her father who had serious dementia, but seemed to enjoy life in spite of it.
The family first noticed it when her father couldn't find his way around his home-town airport that he knew so well. Betsy became concerned and sent him to a doctor friend of hers. The doctor told Betsy's dad that he seemed to have a memory problem. Without missing a beat, his patient replied, "Well Doctor, what do you want me to remember?"
Later, when Betsy alerted her brother Jerry to his father's fading memory, she suggested he come visit while his dad could still recognize him. So Jerry came to visit his dad and showed his father a newspaper article about a recent accomplishment of his. Betsy's dad turned to his son and said with enthusiasm, "Oh, you have the same last name as I do."
Betsy's dad lived to ninety-seven. I am sure he died with a smile on his face.