If I close my eyes, her lovely face swims before me and I vividly remember the first time we met. Lightly grasping my wrist and checking my pulse in the military hospital ward, she unconsciously brushed a stray strand of straw colored hair behind one ear; such a simple fluid gesture. Noticing my steadfast gaze, she smiled with such youthful radiance, I knew my heart would forever belong to her.
If I close my eyes and breathe deeply, the memory of jasmine and rose comes flooding back to haunt me. Having accepted my offer to dance, she placed her delicate hand in mine and guiding her to the dance floor, the orchestra began a long, slow waltz. With my arm around her tiny waist and her head tucked close, the intoxicating perfume carried my away until only the two of us remained. The magic of that night stays with me to this day.
If I close my eyes and listen, her lilting laughter once again fills my soul. It is the sound I heard I proposed to her bent upon one knee. It is the melody I remember as she tossed the wedding bouquet. It is the music that filled our daily lives and made dark days so much brighter and what my heart aches to hear again.
Every day I visit her, sitting quietly, stroking her hand. Some days are better than others, but most are not. I have become the keeper of our past, regaling her with pictures of our children and grandchildren in the fervent hope one may spark a glimmer of recognition if only for a moment. She stares without seeing or knowing, a helpless prisoner of Alzheimer’s. She does not know me, but when I open my eyes, she remains and always will be the woman I will cherish forever.