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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

What’s it all about, Alfie?

I always hesitate telling stories that aren’t my own or that I hear indirectly. But writing is how I makes sense of things that don’t make sense and how I quiet the noise in my head.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

My uncle has memory impairment - Alzheimer’s, dementia. Call it what you will but he doesn’t recognize his wife of many, many years. I don’t know how many but their oldest is my age so longer than 48 years. He’s in a facility now, after hospitalizations and care at home by his wife and all that accompanies that - which is messy and hard.

Memory impairment is cruel. Bit by bit, pieces of the person disappear although they are still here. It’s a long, slow goodbye. Then, a permanent goodbye follows. The mourning continues, beginning again.  My uncle had expressed his wishes to not have a funeral.

I’m sad for my aunt and cousins. And I’m sad for my cousin who is my age but I’m not going to go into that here. If he happens to read this - I love you and think of you often.

My mom will often quote the refrain of a song, asking, “What’s it all about, Alfie?” Which really is questioning the meaning of life.

Last night, mom texted that to me and I finally asked, “Who the fuck is Alfie?”

Seriously - who is this poor bastard that’s being asked to explain something as complicated as the meaning of life?!

Turns out this song comes from a 1966 movie and the song has been remade several times throughout the years - by Cher and Dionne Warwick.

What is it all about? It’s weird how things play out.

What's it all about, Alfie?

Is it just for the moment we live?

What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?

Are we meant to take more than we give?

Or are we meant to be kind?

And if only fools are kind, Alfie

Then I guess it is wise to be cruel

And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie

What will you lend on an old golden rule?

As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie

I know there's something much more

Something even non-believers can believe in

I believe in love, Alfie

Without true love we just exist, Alfie

Until you find the love you've missed, you're nothing, Alfie

When you walk, let your heart lead the way

And you'll find love any day, Alfie


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