Yesterday while visiting family, I attended an 80th birthday party for one of my in-laws' dearest friends. My father-in-law didn't really recognize his friend anymore and didn't seem to be sure where he was, even though the party was at the church he has attended for several years. While he was eating birthday cake, he forgot where he set his fork and started trying to eat his cake with his plastic knife.
My father-in-law is a well educated man who is slipping away, a victim of Alzheimer's disease. He can no longer follow a conversation or string together a sentence longer than a few words. He used to be the family dominoes champion, but can no longer understand the simplest game.
Alzheimer's is a long goodbye to the ones you love.