We like to think of time as linear. Seconds building on seconds, forming the minutes, hours and days that track the path of our lives. Dementia and death fracture this line.
My terminally ill father slipped into dementia in his final months. He suffered a recurring delusion that he could travel back in time.
His wide eyes would shine with his conviction. He would arrive at some train station back in time – naked, cold, and anxious about finding his way home. He would struggle through the night, trying to track back, wandering the corridors to find the right path home. We felt helpless in our inability to calm him. At times it was easier to bring the jersey he asked for, to warm him as he faced snow flurries in 1930s France.