J has stopped eating and drinking. We are told that if nothing changes she is likely to slip away in her sleep in the next week or so.
The family gathers in her room. It is becoming routine for us to drive out to J’s facility together: me, our son, our daughter and our son’s life partner.
There is comfort in the familiar. We are a Harry Potter family. Our son, T, is exactly Harry’s age. We read each book aloud as a family as soon it came out. We read them multiple times: silently alone, all together, in various duos. J, who has been living with Alzheimer’s disease for at least a decade now, was the best reader. No one could come close to her voices: jovial Hagrid, stern Prof. McGonagle, evil Dolores Umbridge.
We still read Harry Potter aloud, but now we read to her. Surely she doesn’t understand it at all, but it clearly calms her.
We also read it for ourselves, and it comforts us, too, reminding us what we had even as it also reminds us of what we have lost.