Yesterday two things happen that are further signs of Kate’s recent decline in both short-term and long-term memory. The first occurred when I attended a communications committee meeting of the United Way. On the way over, the thought hit me that Ross Kilgore, CEO of UW, might indicate knowledge about Kate. When I saw him, that is exactly what happened. He asked me how she was “doing.” It was clear this wasn’t the usual inquiry. ” I responded that she was getting along well. I told him that we had been very fortunate and were grateful that we had been able to enjoy such a long period of time without any major disruption in our lives. I also told him that 2015 was the beginning of a new and more difficult phase. He expressed concern and told me that his mother had had AD. He also mentioned anpther couple who are going through the same thing. I told him I had spoken with the husband just the day before. The significance of this exchange with Ross is that the word is beginning to get around. In most respects this is a relief. I don’t have to be as careful in guarding Kate’s secret as I have done in the past. I also don’t worry that someone is going to say something to Kate.
The second, and bigger, blow occurred last night at Casa Bella. We were there for their opera night. Our regular order is to split a single order of the veal piccata and then share one slice of amaretto cheesecake. Last night, however, I decided to order the piccata for Kate and try something else for myself. I expected her to say something about this change since we have eaten the same thing for so many years. She never said a word. From our conversation afterwards, I know that she didn’t notice that is what I had done.
The even bigger occurrence was that when the waiter asked if we wanted dessert, she asked him what they had. She has loved their cheesecake for years. It is one of her very favorite desserts. Even when she is trying to watch her eating, she and I split the cheesecake. Interestingly, the waiter mentioned the their bread pudding but not the cheesecake. Before Kate could order, I said, “We usually get the cheesecake.” This memory failure is significant because it is a clear indication that something of great importance to her over the years is now drifting away.
Although I have said since late fall that 2015 was going to be a different year, it is painful and anxiety inducing to experience the reality of this decline. I am now more clearly facing a major change in the nature of our relationship because so much of what is involved in a marriage involves the sharing of common memories. I don’t mean to suggest that they are all gone. We are quite a way from that I hope. Nonetheless, she is declining more rapidly than in the past.