[I wrote this early this year–she continues to decline. I haven’t been able to see her since March 9th, due to COVID-19. But I think about her every day.]

Friends ask us
“how is she doing?”
and the good ones
really want to know.
But it’s a hard question
to answer quickly.
She has lost nearly all
of her speech.
She has things to say,
but it is a garbled stammer
unable to form but
a few discernible words.
Her quick walk has been
reduced to a slow shuffle
And she rises from her chair slowly,
after several tries.
Her hands are unsteady,
right hand stiff, curling inward
making it hard to grasp
utensils, so sometimes she
skips it, and
eats with her fingers.
Each new loss makes us sad.
We remember her vibrancy—
her fierce joy with the world
and the small things
that delighted her, which
she doesn’t seem
to notice anymore.
What I can say
is that she is content.
Not joy-filled, but quietly happy
—and maybe happy is
too strong of a word.
Maybe she is adjusting
to this new normal
better than we are.