And he no longer sees you
But he needs you to make him breakfast
When you look into his eyes and he isn’t the only one
Who doesn’t remember how it used to be
When you look for his eyes and they are downcast
And filled with tears
And then hate because you forgot to order his medicine
When you reach into your mouth with both hands
To hold your tongue
This is when you are tested
What did you know of your vows when you made them?
Did you guess that his body would still be there
But his mind would fly away?
For better or for worse
Did anyone ever explain what worse could be?
Perhaps he would cheat on you—that would be worse
But you never imagined the loneliness of being next to someone who isn’t there
For richer or for poorer
Or that nursing care would gobble up your life’s work
in mere months
You thought dementia was about forgetting
In good times and in bad
Or thought you’d give up your dreams as soon as you could realize them
For all the days of your life
And you remember that you chose him
above all others
because he was so kind.