Rachael Earl, Grade 8, Trinity Catholic College
It started with forgetting his car keys. Everyone looked at it like it was just a normal, common thing to do, which it kind of is. No need to make a big deal out of it. Bu then he forgot his passwords for the emails he accesses every day. Luckily, he had them written down. We still thought it was no big deal. He was just growing old, going from earl seventies, to late. I didn't even think about him being forgetful, it completely slipped my mind that it might actually be something serious, apart from old age. Me and my pop have never been too close. Sure, we hug and chat and occasionally it is actually a good conversation, but we aren't close. Far from it, actually. So that's why I didn't mind too much when he forgot my name. It happens, right? It was just because he was getting old and we hadn't talked in a while, I told myself. It didn't bother me when he forgot my brother’s name, or my Mum. As long as he didn't forget my father, his own son’s name, there was no real problem. But he did, and it was a problem. I could never imagine my own father forgetting my name. And obviously by the shock it gave my father neither could he. My pop was taken to the doctor to see what the problem was. My father called and kept saying Alzheimer's, repeatedly. Over and over. I heard this foreign phrase over and over, never knowing what it actually meant. So it was explained, a common form of dementia, or plainly memory loss. I never thought that this could affect me the way it did. Never thought I would feel guilt over not having become closer with my pop, sadness for what had happened, anger that it could happen to him. But I did, and still do. It kept getting worse and worse. He would forget his favourite memory; forget his wife, who he had known for 55 years. He forgot how to play chess, his favourite game since he was a young boy. He forgot most of his words, going from a quite extensive vocabulary to one that consists of no, yes, please, thank you. He had t move into a nursing home, which was probably the best thing for him, but the saddest for us. Nowadays, it's like he has been stolen inside and left with a little of himself and his body. But I wouldn't care what body he was in, if only we could have him back.