A lot of the time it feels like the skin I’m wearing isn’t – can’t possibly – be mine. When did the fine lines appear at the corners of my eyes, I ask myself. They were never there before, that’s for certain. When did my bones begin to ache in the morning and in the cold. When was the last time I could remember what I had for breakfast. I don’t know. I could tell you easily where I was during spring twenty years ago, but last night’s activities come to me in haze. I could tell you what day it was when the doctor told me I had early onset dementia, September fourth 2009, but today’s date always takes me by surprise. Is it really 2016 already?
The process of ticking all the boxes is an arduous and depressing one. I have had to make sure the an enduring power of attorney lies with my husband in Melbourne while I receive treatment in Sydney. I have to make sure that my will is up to date just in case I lose the power to change it properly tomorrow. I have to make sure that my husband knows I still remember him and love him. That our children feel the same. I have to hide my stumbles as I meander through the fog of my memories, mask the hiccups when a familiar name rings no bells. I have to sit diligently each night on the phone with my husband as he outlines the difficulties of being granted a probate in Victoria.
Worst of all, I have to wake up every morning and look in the mirror and find, to my horror, that I’ve aged twenty years. That I barely recognise the person that I’m looking at. That I feel trapped in a body that used to act as a conduit to freedom.