You can't see it, even if you look.
It isn't like an illness that shows easily from the outside. You can tell at a glance that some people are struggling with their health: you can see their walker, the effects of chemo, their oxygen tank or even just the pallor of a person who isn't well.
What if you can't see it? When you first meet a person in the early- to mid-stages of Alzheimer's disease, you might not believe what their family says. I am sure it is true for people who suffer from depression, chronic pain or other illnesses that what they feel like inside is not reflected on the outside. At all. Does that person go through the motions of everyday life, knowing that no one can see? I imagine it must feel like being somewhat invisible. And even though most of us wouldn't want everyone to be able to see all our troubles just by glancing at us, it still must be something that makes a person feel somehow distanced from other people.
I wonder every day, what does she know? Does Mom know what is slipping? Does she realize how diminished her capacity has become? Is she, I hope, in a cognitive fog that dulls the glaring absence of who she was and what she knew and how she thought? Is she sick enough to not know how sick she is?
There are no answers.
Copyright, Patricia Iles