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The ball sailed through the air, powered by my mother’s perfect stroke, her stance at the backyard tee textbook beautiful, the arc of her swing like the flight of a ballerina’s arm.

She held her club aloft, holding her follow-through, waiting for her ball to land, to go where she’d aimed it.

The neighbor’s window shattered.

We said nothing. My mother put her five-iron on the picnic table and went in the house. My 14-year old son picked up the rest of the practice balls, refilling the plastic bucket we’d dumped on the lawn just minutes before.

My mother’s embarrassment fell like rain on all of us.

Her physical self was still strong even though her brain was dissolving, Alzheimer’s Disease was killing her. She could swing a golf club, true and beautiful. It made her proud to remember. And then the glass shattered and she folded in on herself.

She sat collapsed in her chair while my son explained to his grandfather what had happened.

“There must have been a regular ball mixed in with the practice balls and I hit it over the fence and it broke the window next door. I’m really sorry.”

My father shook his head. “I guess I’ll have to go over there and tell him we’ll fix it.”

My mother listened to this news, her sympathy for her grandson written on her face. She was proud of him for taking responsibility.

So was I.