Alzheimer’s Can Be Terrifying

I live in a higher end, four family apartment building. There are 2 units on each side (obviously), and a large common area in the middle that connects to a closed in backyard. It’s quite a nice place. My girlfriend and I moved in here about 6 months ago. Our neighbors are very nice people. We are in unit 1, a young man and his wife live across the hall in unit 2, a woman and her son live above us in 3, and a cliche mother-father-son-daughter family live in unit 4.

About a week and a half ago, while in the hallway, we bumped into the young couple from next door, Anna and Matt. They informed us that Anna’s mother was going to be staying with them for a few days. Her brother was in the process of getting her into a nursing home, and had received an offer too good to pass up when selling her home, and was unable to take her in during the interim. They were letting us know because her mother has severe dementia and alzheimer’s, and is prone to sneaking out and walking around.

They assured us that they were taking every precaution, and that there shouldn’t be an issue, but just wanted to let us know as a courtesy, which we appreciated. We said that she would definitely in the safest place to be, as the only exit from our apartment without a key is the front door, and the rest of the place is enclosed.  We went about our business and all but forgot about the brief conversation until a few nights ago.

Our bedroom is in the back of our apartment, and one of the windows faces the common area/courtyard. I was asleep facing away from the window. Something woke me up. I’m not sure if it was tapping on the window or rustling of leaves or what, but I rolled over and jumped up in bed. Our blinds were drawn, but turned just a bit so one could barely see outside, and there was an old woman standing at our window, arms at her sides, just peering in.

The woman was tall and thin, her hair pure white and wild, and her eyes…the whites of her eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. It seemed as if she was staring directly at me, through me even. I met her gaze for a few seconds, before snapping out of it and quickly turning over to nudge my wife awake. She awoke, and when I looked back, the woman was gone. Kimmy mumbled something incoherent and fell back asleep. I got out of bed and went to the window, looking out to see if I could spot the woman wandering around. I saw no one. I went to the living room to look out that window, and again, nothing. I then heard the door across the hall open and close, so I figured the problem had rectified itself.

The next day, I happened to see Matt outside and asked if his mother-in-law had made it back inside safely last night, to which he replied *“Yeah, she managed to sneak out for a second but we got her! Sorry if she was a bother!”*. I said she was no bother, and figured that was the last of it.

That night around 3am, Kimmy woke me up and said it sounded like someone was in our apartment. I jumped out of bed to go check it out, walking cautiously down the hallway. Before crossing the threshold into the living room, I stopped to listen for anything, maybe get some idea of where the intruder might be.I heard some rustling around towards the kitchen, which is to the left, around the corner. It sounded like drawers were being opened and closed rapidly. I braced myself and turned the corner, flicking the lights on. I looked around, and there was no one there. I looked all over the apartment, and didn’t see anyone. Then, I happened to look out the window and in the middle of the courtyard was Anna’s mother, standing there, staring at me. It thoroughly creeped me out.

Once again, I looked away for what seemed like only a split second, and when I looked back she was gone. I ended up assuring Kimmy we were safe and we both fell back asleep.

The next morning, Kimmy and I decided to go out to breakfast. As we stepped out the front door, I looked down and there was a wooden mixing spoon at our doorstep. It thoroughly freaked me out, but the logical explanation is that Anna’s mother had tossed it out their door or something. It didn’t really make sense to me, but it was more plausible than anything else, as nothing from our kitchen was missing as far as I could tell.

It was after noticing the wooden spoon that we heard Anna and Matt arguing through their door. All we could really make out (without trying to totally eavesdrop) was *”We have to figure out a better way to keep her in here at night. We can’t stay up all night just because she does. We have to make sure she knows that the hallway isn’t just to wander around in.”*. And so it was confirmed, she had indeed been in the hallway the night before. She had probably just ambiguously thought the wooden spoon needed to be placed at our doorstep, and the sound we were hearing were coming from outside our apartment.

That night came, and I again woke up. As it was nearly 4am, it was quite dark in our apartment. Our door was partially open, and I looked to it, and my heart sank to my stomach. I could have sworn I saw the silhouette of Anna’s mother standing at our door. I nearly screamed. Instead, I reached over to turn the light on, and when I did, of course, no one was there. I quickly got up and searched the house. There was no one. Then, I happened to look out the window that faces the front yard, and there she was, wild white hair and all.

I was relatively sure that the “silhouette” I had seen in the hallway was part of a nightmare. Clearly, this woman only went into the hallway and outside. Each night I had checked the locks on the door and windows and they were all secure. The next day, I caught Anna outside and asked how it had been going with her mother. Not to my surprise, she said that she’d gotten out a few times, and it’s been difficult, but her brother had a place lined up that she would be going to soon.

That night, once again, Kimmy and I were both woken up. This time, it was a scratching sound. I got up to check it out. It was coming from the door to our apartment. I went and looked through the peephole, and jumped back when I saw what was on the other side. It was the close up face of Anna’s mother, who was standing directly in front of our door, staring into the peephole. It creeped me out thinking that only about 1 ½ inches of wood separated the two of us.

Now prepared for what I was going to be looking at, I looked back through the peephole, and she was standing there, moving her fingernails up and down our door. I quietly said *:Miss Mullen (Anna’s maiden name), I think you should go back to your house now and get to bed. It’s late and we’re trying to sleep.”* To my surprise, she ceased with the scratching, and just stood there for a few seconds, staring through the other side of the peephole, and then backed away, but keeping her gaze towards the door. It was like I could feel her looking through me. Once she turned around, I went back to bed, satisfied with resolving that situation.

Them yesterday afternoon, there was a knock on our door. It was Anna and another man I didn’t recognize. She introduced him as her brother Alex. They thanked me for being so patient with their mother, who was very sorry if she had caused any disturbance, as the they know the stairs in our hallway can be particularly loud at night. I of course said it was no problem, even though I’d never heard her on the stairs. Even so, they explained that she insisted on giving us some cookies she’d baked. I gladly accepted, and Alex went and got their mother.

The woman he came out with was small and frail, with short brown hair. She was absolutely **not** the woman I’d been seeing the last few nights. I was lost for words. This little old lady walked up to me with a plate of cookies and said *”Thank you for being so understanding young man.”* I stammered out a *”No problem.”* and closed my door, unsure of what was going on.

I watched them get their mother into Alex’s car, and him take her away to her new nursing home.

I am afraid to go to sleep tonight.

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