As a young child, I occasionally got lost. The temporary sort of lost. The kind of lost that makes your heart pound as fear runs through your veins. I haven’t had those moments in a long time now. Mostly because I’m tall enough to see more than just knees. It’s hard to identify people by their knees, especially when those knee are wearing pants. Trust me on this!
To be honest I never expected to have that feeling of terror and dread because I didn’t know where I was or where my people are. I guess my people is a large enough group now that I don’t worry too much about having drifted too far away from them. And if not for a recent trip to IKEA I’d probably still feel, well, not lost. 😉 Sure they have some path system to follow since they make you walk through the whole store just to get back out. And sure they have rest areas, beds and yes even food in the event this becomes a longer than expected visit.
The problem with IKEA is when you step off one of the paths, somehow get turned around and suddenly no matter which way you go, you are a salmon swimming upstream. Eventually, exhausted, you see light at the end of the tunnel, or rather the exit out to the world you know. You’ve made it! You are found, and safe!
This temporary sense of lost, although without the panic or fear because I knew I’d find my way out, made me think about life with dementia and Alzheimer’s. A sense of being lost in many ways. And those who have loved ones with these illnesses are also lost in a way.
I’m sure for the people with these illnesses, the panic and terror I felt trying to find a parent solely by his/her knees is something similar. The things that set individuals apart get lost or jumbled, just as memories and understand get all mixed up. It’s a bit like a puzzle with 10,000 pieces all mixed up and put in the wrong boxes.
On the good days you find the person you were looking for, on the bad days you don’t even know to look for that person. I can’t imagine a life ending with this kind of fear and sense of loss. I also can’t imagine knowing that something has happened to me, but not what. I hope that life doesn’t end this way for anyone.