Saturday, May 21, 2011


A little at a time.
Casual people that we are, our closets, especially Bob's, are filled with t-shirts; we bought him at least one on every trip and on most occasions.

This morning I sift through his side of our closet, every shirt a memory from World Cup 2006 (was it only five years ago?) to Stop Genocide in Sudan to Plays Well With Others. Some shirts I can't part with because I see him in them. Others I keep just in case ... in case of ...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day #3 without Bob

When someone you love dies, for example, my father in law died suddenly at age 56 of a heart attack and while not totally unexpected it was unexpected and shocking, everyone knows what happened.

Everyone gathers round about you and cries with you and brings casseroles and sings songs and shares memories. You have that long first year of mourning, but people know.

With Alzheimers one day a doctor pronounces the sentence and you leave with a prescription and life pretty much goes on but the mantle of the words wraps you and you are sort of quiet about it and few know and, if you're smart, you make some legal plans and decisions, but you feel a bit embarrassed or shunned or odd.

In our case, we came out and joined the local Alzheimer's community. I thought we faced this head on, but I still denied, denied -- I didn't think I did but I did not embrace death of the spirit of the man I love.

Slowly over the years, as the caregiver, you notice that the victim is slipping away. Much of this came when I'd see him at daycare and watch from afar as he sat by himself at a table not eating his snack or I would see another caregiver helper her spouse out / in / into the car and I'd have that moment of realization: Bob is like that!

So day 3 is here and I am filled with doubt and guilt and regret and denial.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Yesterday Bob went to his new home.
This morning I awoke with the image of giving him a hug as he sat in a chair and him saying to me, "I'm lost."
Me too, my darling, me too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

He's leaving home

I've filled suitcases for many trips we've taken over our grasshopper years. Packing is the strangest thing. I'm putting stuff into a duffle bag and a box, and everything has his name written in permanent marker. Permanent marker.

I find myself thinking should he take this? Maybe I should keep this shirt at home ... why? Why? In case of what?

If we were divorcing, I could throw his stuff out in the yard.
If he were dead, I could give it all away.
Packing is the strangest thing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Double Vision

Ever since I received an email telling me that the care facility which I'd chosen for Bob (the same place where he attends daycare 2-3 days a week) would have a surprise open Medicaid bed in Aspen, their first step ward, I've had double vision when I look at my husband of almost 44 years.
When I see him, I can not avoid the confident, intelligent man I married, the guy I've traveled all over the world with, the one I'd hoped to retire into the sunset with.
I thought those dreams and that person were behind me, that I accepted the daily new and sadder and diminishing man, but now I realize that the shadow self has ever been there. My memory remains good. When I see him smile now for some creature comfort thoughtfulness, I can't forget the guy who got all my stupid jokes, argued with me about politics, and agreed that we should be grasshoppers not ants.
I repeat myself. I know I can't help the man who's here beside me. I so miss the guy he would have been by now if Alzheimer's hadn't robbed us of our "golden years."
MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. We can't be sure we have a tomorrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Probably Time

Not to get personal, but ...
this morning Bob was in the bathroom and I was there to help him. I was trying to get him to put the toilet tissue in the comode. He wanted to put it in his pocket as it was "still good."

These little mishaps make my decision seem right if not easy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Death ... again??

A new step. I will be placing Bob in a care facility next week. I'd planned on this move during the summer: I am exhausted, I'm having health issues myself, I am 65 (just), I can't let AzD steal two lives. Can I?

This is another of many, many deaths. Most of us experience the loss of our spouse only once. We who share our marriages with Alzheimer's live through many small deaths.

I thought I'd avoided denial, but as I look into a future where I won't move incredibly slowly through the grocery store being sure he keeps one hand on the cart, as I think of having our bed all to myself without him beside me so I can hold his hand in the middle of the night when he doesn't even know it (even if I do have to wake and cover him each time he gets up), as I think of not having him offer to go along with me to parent teacher conferences so he won't worry about me driving at night, I face the fact that through these past six plus years, for better or worse, he's been with me, damn it!! I've not had to give him up.

I know it's time but I hate it. I hate it! I hate it!
I feel weak and selfish and guilty. I know it's the right time and I hate it.
I hate it!