“Do you know who I am?” I asked mom. She scanned my face, lowered her eyes, shrugged her shoulders, and nodded in the negative.
I offered a clue: “I’m your daughter. And you named me after your sister.”
“You’re Elaine,” she said. “My sister was such a good person.”
I hate dementia and what it has done to my mom. For 11 years this brutal brain disease, that afflicts more than 10 million people each year, has systematically destroyed my mom’s memory. The first signs began around the time she celebrated her 70th birthday. She knew something was wrong and would often say, “My brain just doesn’t work anymore.” And now at 81, this once brilliant woman doesn’t remember who I am, only that I am familiar.