Audrey Webb

OLLI member Audrey Webb reflects on the passing of her wife Karen from COVID. Karen had Alzheimer's Disease that had progressed to the point where she could no longer speak or move. Audrey wrote her rememberance in our "Illuminating Your Life Through Story" course taught by Rachel Richardson. 

Walking into a room with full quarantine gear, seeing Karen and knowing she could not see me as her eyes were always closed these days. A familiar caregiver was in the outer room and that gave me comfort. I knew my voice could be a comfort and the familiar music that I played. Our doctor friend told me that “hearing” was the last to go but not necessarily connecting voice to person but voice to familiarity. On one of my visits, I experienced a moment of anxiety when I sneezed into my mask and walked to the bathroom to get a Kleenex. I lowered the mask and then realized I had not changed my gloves! Oh, I already admired front line workers but this is what they deal with every day.

During this time, except for the music and my voice there was only the sound of Karen breathing — labored at times, quickly at other times, but calmer after the morphine. I talked and I listened and felt it was an honor to be here with her, knowing that many families are deprived of this.

The OLLI @Berkeley Blog showcases the voices and perspectives of our community (members, faculty and staff) as well as news from and about OLLI. Personal observations of life in this moment, of growing older, of self-discoveries large and small are just a handful of possible areas to explore. Read more.