On the plane, coming back from a visit with Jennie, I finally opened the Time Magazine I’ve been carrying for days and found a big spread on “The Grande Dames of Fashion!” It’s a good thing I didn’t open this sooner because even though J is nearly as present and insightful as ever, there’s a lot of sadness in her Memory Facility. Yes, it is the place she needs, a safe, warm, nurturing cocoon, but it’s shared with people who are much further along in this disease. As vibrant as J is, it’s hard to ignore that she will one day lose her ability to remember me or anyone who loves her, to move her limbs, to speak or eat or even breathe. When J was first diagnosed, a friend volunteered that his Dad had had Alzheimer’s. The family had tended him for many years, doing all they could and watching helplessly as he unraveled. Then near the end when every breath was torture because his body couldn’t remember how to breathe, in the last days of this horrible journey, family members started talking about helping him die. Some couldn’t even stand to discuss this. But then one day Dad got tangled in his sheets and suffocated. My friend said nobody knew who did it, or even if anyone did it. But over the years, even the people who had been vehemently against it, expressed pride in the bravery of whatever happened.
That’s what I was thinking about when I opened to the article on “Senior Chic,” and I surely took umbrage. Why doesn’t my friend get to be a grand dame with her mane of silver hair and her twinkling eyes. And who the hell needs to be a Grande Dame!? Why do we have to hold ourselves to these impossible standards!? No not impossible, they’re irrelevant standards compared to what’s happening to Jennie and thousands of others, millions. Probably elderly fashionistas are all mindless Barbie dolls! Et cet era
It was the Grande Dames on the magazine’s pages who finally delivered me from my sad and angry snit. Carmen Dell’Orefice, poised as a Lilly and Goddess beautiful on the Paris runway at 83.
Iris Apfel, 93, radiating her vibrant, infectious wit on a Kate Spade fashion spread.
The sight of these beauties actually helped me come back into the reality of the present – which includes my ability to go see J and sing with her and be enlightened by her take on the world, still here now – IF I don’t get so distracted by future fears that I can’t experience her (here,now).
This morning when I was getting dressed, with 3000 miles and a beginning case of Alzheimer’s between me and my friend, my eye, (here, now) caught sight of a pair of fake Milano earrings another dear friend had goaded me into buying at a thrift shop.
I put them on. And even though “selfies” are supposed to be the most uncool thing you can do according to the etiquitte and fashion of this day – I am deliciously too old to give a damn:
Originally posted 2016-12-01 16:03:53.