When I was 15, I was having a bit of a problem with drugs. I overdosed and almost died. My mother attempted rehab by sending me to a home nursing course. I got a job at a nursing home, where the still-well people lived in nice apartments with kitchens and water views, and the dying people lived in the basement.
I worked mostly in the basement. It was sad. I wrote my first short story and forced my parents and five younger siblings to sit on the beach on a drift log and listen to me read the story.
“Send it out,” my mother said.
A magazine wrote back, “We’re up to our ears in dying old people.”
Now everyone’s up to their ears in demented old people. But this is Leah’s story, and Leah wasn’t old. And I’m telling it. So listen.
When we turned thirty, not quite in our prime, but close, we were still attractive.
See the rest of the story My Dementia by K.C. Pedersen in Cease, Cows.
About Cease, Cows: At Cease, Cows we want to explore the contemporary, the strange, the big questions. We want to feel cultural pulses, expose mental arteries, bathe in both the sanguine and sanguinary. We want to publish prose with fire and truth. Humans may be animals, but the power of words can allow us to revel in or transcend the physical. The best literature achieves both. Or something profound like that.
2 comments On My Dementia in Cease, Cows
When I read this story I was happy that Leah finally was able to go home. I have no doubt that in her mind, despite the dementia, there was a little sliver of brain space that was alive and well and that constantly called her to end her final days in peace. If we could all go this way during our final days… just walk away to a place where it was safe, and warm, and surrounded by love; what welcome relief that would be. We seem to be stuck, however, as a society, in prolonging life when it’s past time to go. Leah knew it was her time to go… I’m just surprised that she waited so long to do so.
Thank you, Mike! I think there are “little slivers of brain space,” or perhaps even large slivers the rest of us can’t (yet) comprehend.