Seven years later Robert was still mentally impaired and his personality far different than before the accident, but he knew his family, knew he had had a brain injury that upended their lives, and asked lots of questions. He carried with him at all times a reporter’s notebook, in which he had written the information most important to him: his daughters’ ages — 9 and 11 — and that he has “known my honey” 18 years.
He could remember snippets of his pre-injury life — the made-up song he and [his wife] Page sang to their girls, his nicknames for colleagues, that he had been an Eagle Scout. And though he still broke Page’s heart every day with a sweet and childlike simple-mindedness — repeating his plans to “take meds, wash hands and brush teeth” like a mantra, or excitedly announcing that he’d won a candy bar at a penny toss “and didn’t cheat at all” — once in a while, he would say something insightful and completely on point.
Just days earlier, at the Sunrise assisted-living facility where he lived for several years, Robert had looked at Page with earnest eyes and the relaxed demeanor he used to have and asked if it was hard for her to pack up the house: “Does that cause you distress, darlin’? Make you sad?” Page took his hand, and her eyes filled with tears. “We had the best days of our lives and the worst days of our lives in that house,” she said quietly. “So, it’s very bittersweet to leave it.”
“It is bittersweet,” Robert echoed.
We read this one all the way through. Heartbreaking, but uplifting.