Elva Isham was like a second mother to me for most of my childhood. She babysat me when my parents were working. She was the go-to person if we were ever out roaming the countryside and needed help. When I became a mother myself, she was one of the people who babysat my own daughter. She helped my mother through the pain of my father's illnesses and Mom helped her through the grief of losing her husband. When it was all said and done, though, even though my mother was there for her, El spent her days in a private hell where no one could help her.
Night before last, my mother's best friend of almost 40 years finally succumbed to a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. In the end, it was a mercy. Alzheimer's is a cruel disease. Little by little, the victim forgets every little piece of themselves until finally, they even forget how to breathe. Perhaps that's the kindest part--the very end when the victim goes quietly into darkness.
After all the years of fear and pain, El is with her husband and at peace. Godspeed, Mrs. Isham. Alzheimer's may have made you forget us all, but trust me, you will never be forgotten.