September 12, 2016 § 1 Comment
So many faces, faces with names he no longer remembers. If they were liked or especially kind to him, their names are lost but some connection lingers.
While listening to music, from my laptop photo galleries, I show him pictures of his family, my dear husband’s face alongside his children’s, then with their children. I prompt him for their names. He does not recognize most of them. I cheer when he identifies his brothers names with their faces and we both express our deep sadness for his deceased younger brother.
One night recently a face time call was prearranged but I didn’t dare tell him why we were lingering over dessert in the dining room because he would be anxious for the call to happen and keep asking me about when. I did not have a specific time. We waited for about two hours while we ate dinner. Sadly, the anticipated call did not come. I was protecting him from disappointment by not telling him that a family member was going to call and my husband, unable to reflect, uses all of his faculties just to live his life in present time, unable to have expectations about anything.
We go to sit in the living room and watch some “Castle” re-runs, holding hands. I am sad when family does not call. They miss out sharing his surprise and delight just hearing their voices. He doesn’t get to participate with his warm smile, a few words and gentle spirit. HE IS STILL HERE. I am reassured when I squeeze his hand and steal a kiss. I try to protect him from looking at a familiar face and feel a wave of confusion, uncertain who they and what memories they’ve shared. The sensitive soul I married ten years ago is still here. We didn’t expect to go down this path, it is so hard, but I am on board. His constant love and devotion inspires my life in so many ways. It takes courage to see past what he’s lost, the continuum of decline in dementia but he still gives, with all that he has, to face a new day with cheery hopefulness. He is still here for you too.
September 3, 2016 § Leave a comment
My sweet husband tells me he likes the lime jello dessert and I say how happy it makes me feel when he likes something I’ve made for him. Our life is simple. I make and he thoroughly enjoys the experience of eating – all food is comfort food. Happiness is setting the table knowing what comes next – food!
I let him know that if the tables were turned (oops, I forgot who I was talking to), if I was the one with dementia, he would take good care of me too. He says “we’re married aren’t we?”
It’s the only relationship he knows for sure, secure, safe. He tells me “I love you” everyday, in so many ways and often his blue eyes fill with tears because he feels cared for in a deep way, overwhelmed with gratitude.
These words also come with questions, in a very soft tone of voice:
- I love you – Is it time to get up?
- I love you – What should I wear? Does it go on top?
- I love you – Is there something (to eat)?
- I love you – Should I shave, no, shower?
- I love you – Can I sit here (beside you)?
Dementia takes over his brain power but his heart remains in place. It’s just like it was before this awful disease but now expressions of tenderness are in the forefront, almost unexpectedly. Same quick reaction with sad thoughts, tears on a moments notice, great pools of blue. We don’t watch the DC news, who got murdered or died in a car crash, too sad.