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Periodic Contributor


I'm new to this message board, so I'm not sure how it works.  But I had a sad experience with a friend the other day, and would like to share.


Phyllis and I are in our early-eighties, and have been great friends since our teens.  She's dealing with dementia now, but has some "good" days.  On our last visit, things went well for about a half hour.  She knew me, and we were having a good conversation.  


Then, she asked me where I lived.  That wasn't alarming, sometimes things like that slip your mind.  But when I gave her the name of my town, she told me she used to have a friend who lived in that town.  She asked me my name.  I told her, and she said, "What a coincidence.  That's the same name as my friend."  She didn't know me anymore.  


She went on to tell me about her friend, how much she loved her, and what a great friendship it had been.  Then she wanted to know, since I lived in the same town as her friend, did I know her.  I told her I didn't.  She said, "That's too bad.  You would like her."


When I left, there was no hug, or "Can't wait to see you again."  Because in her mind by the end of the visit, I was just some person who had stopped in to chat.   She said, "Goodbye."  I said, "Do you want to walk out with me?"  She said, "No.  Just close the door when you leave."  


I knew Phyllis had these lapses.  Her daughter had told me.  But this was my first first-hand experience.  It saddened me terribly, and the cold goodbye chilled my soul.  But her loving description of our friendship will stay with me forever.  Thank you, Phyllis.  I loved you, too.




AARP Expert

As another reader stated, what a lovely story, and so poignant. A heavy loss. But what a long time and nourishing friendship. Isn't it amazing how different relationships warrant different feelings: she assumed that she didn't owe this 'stranger' anything warmer than a 'goodbye, and close the door behind you.' But somehow she was still reminded of her friend (you!) and it sounds like she, too, was warmed by the memory.


Alzheimers, it's a thief. And you are conscious of what is lost as well as what you had, how precious that was.


There is an aarp group for grief. You might find some solace there. And meanwhile, thank you for sharing your insight. 


How lovely to have one friend for so long. 



(vote anybody blue, with a pulse)

Trusted Social Butterfly

Hi PatM,


Welcome!  🙂  I'm pretty new myself to this area of the AARP website. 


I know nothing about dementia but i just wanted to tell you that i am sooo sorry for your sad experience with such a dear friend.  But how lucky you are to have had such a great friend and for such a very long time.  Not many are so lucky, but i'm sure you know that.


Life deals us some sad times, but thank goodness there are the glad your friend describing her love for you and how she felt about you and your friendship. Again, not all of us are so lucky. Sounds like you have some awesome memories to cherish.


God Bless you both...❤️

Never Look Down on Anybody...Unless You Are Helping Them Up. 🙂
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