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The Calculus of Cognitive Loss or It’s So Much Harder When You Can’t Grieve

Tarpley Long, MSW
Member, Washington Center for Psychoanalysis
March 2015 | Volume 2 | Issue 3

SCENE: A sterile hospital lounge furnished with couches, chairs, a TV and a card table. A sign on the swinging door center stage reads: MEMORY CARE UNIT.

EDDIE DAVIS, 50s, bursts through the swinging door. He carries an empty box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Clearly agitated, he paces around the room.

DANNY DAVIS, also in his 50s, enters from stage right, whistling. EDDIE

You lazy bastard!! This is the third time I have come to see Mama and there are no Post Toasties in her room. The only thing you are in charge of is her cereal and you can’t even do that.

DANNY Corn flakes, Eddie. Corn flakes.

EDDIE: Wha –

DANNY: They don’t make Post Toasties, no more, Eddie. Went out with the Edsel –

EDDIE: Danny, you know our mother eats Post Toasties for breakfast. Every morning. This is what she eats! Call this cereal by any other name and it is still Post Toasties.

DANNY: Hey, if she is out of corn flakes she walks down to the cafeteria. Her stay here pays for 3 meals a day and don’t look like she misses many meals.

EDDIE: You fucking idiot!!! She can’t remember what a race track is, that she fried chicken for Sunday dinner for 50 years, that she used to make her own dresses. Hell, you can’t force her to have her hair cut
anymore. Remembering to pour a bowl of Post Toasties for breakfast is all that is left of her.

By Tarpley Long, MSW
Member, Washington Center for Psychoanalysis

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