The Disappearing Man

January 5, 2009
By Stephanie Hicks, Arnold, MD

He sat there. We sat there. But the laughter was missing. Where did it go? He used to teach, joke, and laugh. But that all disappeared. He disappeared.

My grandmother died when I was seven. As soon as she was gone my grandfathers Parkinsons disease hit hard and he started going himself. He still joked and played but it would never be the same.

When we checked him in the nursing home all was well. The nurses liked him and told us he was a joy to be around. But as the years passed things began to change. When we visited it was no longer a happy occasion. We never knew which visit would be the last.

We would come and hear stories of his amazing travels in the past weeks, stories that would light up a child’s eyes. But for us they served as a warning. He truly believed he had ridden that camel, that he had taken a walk in the spring weather in the middle of December. He actually thought that my grandmother had walked down those halls.

He could never remember my name and so christened me Amy or Bonnie, my aunt’s names. It became too much. My weekly visits became monthly and than disappeared all together. I couldn’t hear those stories anymore. I wouldn’t. He was gone, no longer himself. He had died even though his body remained.

I still loved him but could not bear to witness his…fading. A few months later word came of his hospitalization and then death. Can a person die twice, first soul, then body...? He did.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!