Escape from Dementia: I Want To Go Home

Sometimes we catch calls that grab us by the gut and then pull and tug until our emotions are ripped from their roots. This was one of those calls.

I Want To Go Home

“I want to go home. I want to go home. I. Want. To. Go. Home.”

“Those are the only words she’s spoken in years, Officer.”

“The last time we saw her she was wearing a blue nightgown. She was ready for bed.”

“Yes, all the doors were locked. Well, with the exception of the front door. That’s the one visitors use. But it’s monitored.”

“Please hurry. It’s really cold out. And she’s terrified of the dark.”

“No, she hasn’t had a visitor in over a year. Even her daughter stopped coming by.”

“I suppose we’d searched for an hour or so before we called you.”

Radio crackles.

“No, sir. Nothing yet.”

“Yes, sir. The handlers and their dogs are on the way.”

Another crackle.

“It’s starting to snow.”

Twenty officers.

As many civilian volunteers.

More on the way.

Two dogs—Bloodhounds.

The best in the business.

Snowing hard, sideways.

Missing for several hours.

Temperatures dip to zero, and then a bit below.

Command post. Hot coffee.

Warmth for frigid hands and numb toes.

Radio crackles.

“I’ve found her …”

Fence. Chain-link.

Litter, scattered about.


The old woman, nearly ninety.

In the snow.

No shoes.

Blue nightgown.

Glasses half on, half off.

Blue lights flittering and dancing among falling pieces of frozen lace.

Snowflakes on a wrinkled face.

A smile?

“I guess she finally made it home.”


3 replies
  1. Ruby Swoon
    Ruby Swoon says:

    I’m sorry. My grandmother was always so full of life and energy. But in her early nineties her daughters put her in a home. She expressed her wish to die to me about six months after being there. I told my mom and aunt but they did nothing. My older sister pleaded with my grandmother to come live with her, but granny said she didn’t want to be a burden. Eight months after she was sent to the home, she had lapsed into a comma (due to meds given, I strongly feel) and died shortly thereafter.

  2. Reine
    Reine says:

    My grandmother told me that her sons and daughters would never do that to her. They did, however. The day they drove her to the nursing home, she realized what was happening and said with great sadness and unbelieving, “ So it comes to this.” She died that night.

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