Look away…


She constantly refused to look into a mirror, any mirror.

My mother.

It wasn’t because of vanity or due to failing eyesight.

She could see clearly, without eyeglasses, towards the end of her life.

It didn’t matter.

The reflection staring back was unrecognizable

To her.

That person, that old woman with gray hair and wrinkled skin was someone else.  “A witch” she often said as she quickly looked away from what she had determined was some creature hiding in the glass.  She would cover her face with both hands.   It wasn’t her, not by any means;  she was young,  in her twenties, still with dark hair and red lipstick.

In her mind.

Mother lived in long ago realities; the aging process stopped and did a U-turn back about fifty or more years once Alzheimer’s took control.   In some ways, I was envious.  She didn’t have to deal with life’s sorrows and responsibilities but that was nothing new.   For as long as I could painfully remember she always managed to look away from bothersome issues,  seeing only what she wanted.  Comfortable, happy reflections.

I was never her mirror of choice.

Flicker of Inspiration Prompt #18: Objects In the Mirror

It’s a standard warning on car mirrors: “Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear”. Mirrors don’t always give a truly honest reflection. Sometimes, the mirror is warped; sometimes, it’s only our perceptions. When Alice went into her mirror, it was the world itself that was distorted. And yet at times, the mirror will show you true things that you weren’t aware of; something around a corner, or behind you, or on another spectral plane. People can even act as mirrors; they can show you yourself as others see you.



  1. melody-mae says:

    wow. amazing post! I have often wondered as we get older do our spouses look at us and see the young women they fell in love with? Do we look like we did then or do they see those wrinkles and still love us or do they overlook them completely?

    thought provoking post sweetheart! thanks for sharing

    • Patty says:

      I think our spouses tread carefully, especially when we ask them things like "Honey, do I look as old as her?" Goes along with asking them if what we're wearing makes us look fat!

      Do we see the wrinkles and little balding spots on our men along with pudgy waistlines? I think a little overlooking goes both ways!

  2. BettyShmetty says:

    What a sad story. I can relate because I am still shocked when I take a close look in the mirror or see a photo and wonder who the aging woman is. I still feel the same mentally. I wonder if that ever changes…if we ever feel as mature as we end up looking?

  3. My dad says something like that a lot. Who is that old man in the mirror?? Must be a strange feeling.

    • Patty says:

      When my mother first came to live with us and refused to look into a mirror, I thought she was being difficult. Soon learned that, in addition to not knowing who I was any longer, that image she saw in the mirror was another stranger. That "stranger" along with me, made her very angry. Dealing with her Alzheimer's was wicked but fascinating…at times.

  4. Kyria says:

    That's so beautiful and sad. My grandmother still thinks that she is young as well. In fact, the other day, she said she wanted to go water skiing. She is almost 80. She forgets she has the body of an old woman. It makes me sad, because she still wants to do things, but has body restrictions.

  5. J. Ross says:

    Wow, short but powerful piece. I think it's an interesting direction to take the "mirror" idea; I think your experience is close to unique, I can't say that I've heard a similar story before. Very nice execution; your short paragraphs carry a lot of weight in very few words.

  6. Vic says:

    I'm 31 and have a hard time looking in the mirror due to looking exactly like my mother as i age and it's pretty in some ways and other ways to me it's ugly, i hope i live long and hope i won't care to look in the mirror and actually be thankful for just living this life:) great post pretty lady!

  7. Ms. Blasé says:

    This was a tough post to read because my grandmother went through this. Alzheimer’s not only makes the inflicted unrecognizable to themselves, but it makes them practically unrecognizable to the ones they love. The way my grandmother acted before she passed was strange to all of us… additionally, however, we knew that all of us had become strangers to her.

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