Writing 101, Day Four: The Serial Killer. Loss.

Today’s prompt is: write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series. Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

I didn’t want to get sentimental today. I’ve tried hard to write about loss in a positive way, but I’ve given up.

Loss is loss. It’s hard and devastating and often irretrievable.

I want to face loss. I need to face loss. The greatest loss that can happen to a person is, literally, losing oneself, not knowing who you are as a result of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other types of neurological conditions.

I first came across dementia when I was a teenager in the 1970s. My mother, my sister, and I, used to travel from London to the north of Spain via Paris by coach, and ferry. We stayed with my mother’s cousins, aunt, and uncle, who had escaped to France from the Spanish Civil War. They lived in the outskirts of Paris, in suburban town houses, much like our house in north London. We always enjoyed our stay there (I’m sorry to say we’ve lost touch now), they were merry and welcoming, and took us to visit the sights like tourists, and cooked us delicious meals, which always ended with lots of different types of cheese and Champaign.

One year, my mother’s Aunt Asunción was different. She kept saying things over and over again. She no longer cooked, or went out. I sensed something was wrong, but she looked healthy. She had put on weight, and seemed to be happy, and smiled most of the time. Until one day she asked me how my father was. My father didn’t live with us, so he never came. In fact, I’m sure she had never even met him. But she insisted in Spanish, which was the language she usually used to speak to me, ‘Where is Antonio, your father? I haven’t seen him this morning in the walk.”

It took me a few minutes o realize she was talking about my grandfather, whom I had never met, because he had died ten years before I was born. Then she called me by my name, which was also my mother’s name. Once more I soon realized she wasn’t talking to me, but to my mother. She thought I was my mother, and she was asking me about her father. I was shocked and distressed, so I rushed to tell my aunt, her daughter, who told me not to worry, ‘Just say yes, and play along.’ She dismissed. I asked her if we shouldn’t tell her about her confusion, and she told me that she was ill, and would never recover her former self. We had lost her, but worse still, she had lost herself.

As far as I can remember, there was no name attached to the condition, at the time. It was dismissed as ‘old age’. Apparently, it had happened to other members of the family who had lived long enough. Years later, in the 1990s, another aunt, on my father’s side, suffered the same ‘strange illness’, which now had a universally acknowledged name: Alzheimer’s, and people started talking about it openly, and investigating to improve the lives of sufferers and their families, but it was early days yet.

This dreadful loss was to cross my path twice more…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/ Check out what others are saying about loss.


9 thoughts on “Writing 101, Day Four: The Serial Killer. Loss.

  1. Your post is very powerful and you’ve done a great lead in to the future ones.

    I also have memories of grandparents with dementia. I wonder how much of that was Alzheimer’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Rereading Jane Eyre!

    I truly enjoyed your part one (should I have enjoyed it?). It seems strange to say such a thing in light of the topic; yet I stand by my choice of wording. You shared precious memories and the cliffhanger definitely left me wanting to read more. You made Alzheimer’s a real topic and not just one “I’ve heard about.”

    Thank you! I look forward to reading more from you.

    You have a new follower! If you would like to read mine (I must forewarn: it’s sad), here’s the link:


    ~ Angela

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really liked this story – very relatable. Sadly we all know people these days who have these kind of problems. The challenge is knowing how to help and if there is no help to be offered , how to live with that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. The following posts will go into that aspect. Years ago, we weren’t attuned to this condition, but now we have much more information, so we can understand and help a little more…


  4. Hi, I can totally relate to your story…I don’t know who suffers more in these cases – the patients since they have lost themselves or their families who have to witness their dear ones slowly slipping away from reality and not being able to do anything about it…powerful writing

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease – I hope a cure is found for it soon. It is crushing to a family. My critique group started talking about lost pets (i.e. dead) yesterday and I got to the point of thinking of all the animals we had lost that I couldn’t continue! I usually take to the bed for a day when one of them dies.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve watched many close relatives suffer and die as a result of Alzheimer’s…I hope they come up with a cure soon, too.
    Yes, I’ve lost a few pets, too, and it’s always so sad. I cry with books like War Horse and Marley and Me, and when I saw Hatchi: A dogs’s Tale, I cried for days… I don’t know why animals suffering makes me so upset…


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