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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1893516-Joel
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Health · #1893516
Entry for The Dialogue 500 showing how Joel deals with an uncomfortable reality.
(492 words)

JOEL

“Mum, is dad around?  I need help with my homework.”

“I’m sorry, honey, Dad’s had to go to the hospital about Great Grandma Carrie.  He doesn’t have much choice.  There’s no-one else to be around for her.”

“But what about Grandpa Den?  He’s her son.  Why doesn’t he look after her?”

“Joel, your grandparents are off on another overseas trip, so your dad has to take the responsibility.”

“Wow, Mum, that doesn’t seem fair, and I need his help.”

“I know, Joel; your Dad will help you as soon as he can.  He’d much rather do that than deal with the hospital.”

“What’s wrong with Great Grandma Carrie, then, Mum?  When will she go home?”

“Hmm.  Well, I guess you’re old enough to understand.  I’m afraid she won’t be going home; she’s dying in a very nasty way.  She has a condition called Alzheimer’s disease that attacks people’s minds.”

“How, Mum?”

“Well, people lose their memory, they get confused, they forget things, they don’t know where they are and stuff like that.”

“Does that mean she’s forgotten me, Mum?”

“I don’t know, dear, but it’s possible.”

“Mum, could I see Great Grandma Carrie again?  I’d like to say goodbye to her.”

“I guess so, Joel; I’m going to see her tomorrow; you can come too if you’d like.”

“Cool, Mum.”

“Hmmm!”

**************************

“You’ve been very quiet since we got back from the hospital, Joel—is everything okay?”

“Not really, Mum.  I never expected to see Great Grandma Carrie like that.  She didn’t know who I was, couldn’t remember what we said and got angry over nothing.  She wanted to go home and she asked where Great Grandpa George was.  And he’s been dead for twenty years.”

“I know, honey, it’s really hard to accept, but it must be much worse for her to have to live like that.”

“Mum, why can’t she be cured?”

“Joel, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s in spite of a lot of research.  You might be able to understand it better if you think of it as … well, as cancer of the mind.”

“Sounds horrible, Mum.  Will I get it—will you and Dad get it?”

“We hope and pray that the answer is ‘No’, Joel.  But you can do things to make it less likely; keeping your mind active is important.”

“How do you do that, Mum?”

“Oh, your Dad and I write stories that are published on a site called Writing dot Com.  And don’t laugh like that, they’re really not bad.”

“Thanks, Mum.  I’ve had my eyes opened today.  Not in a good way, perhaps, but I needed to see Great Grandma Carrie.  Now I’m going to Jimmy’s place for a while.”

“Okay, Joel—don’t slam the …”

“Sorry, Mum; I forgot to tell you something.”

“Yes, honey?”

“I love you, Mum.  ‘Bye.”

Oh wow, those words are so special, even though it’s taken fourteen years for me to hear them.  He’s growing into a fine young man.
© Copyright 2012 ☮ The Grum Of Grums (bumblegrum at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1893516-Joel