Monday, July 20, 2009

Dissolved to Tears

Oh, brave little me!! How sweet to find my husband holding hands with another woman. He was comforting her, I told myself. That really did not bother me during my visit on Saturday or later on that day.

But, come Sunday morning the picture in my mind changed, my forgiving and understanding heart put up a wall and the tears began to flow. It hurts. Yes, it does hurt to see your husband holding hands with someone else. Sandra Day O'Connor may say she's fine with her dementia laden husband finding a new girlfriend. But, I bet at night it gnaws at her insides and she feels lonely and abandoned. And, that is how I am feeling as I start a new week by myself.

Feeling by myself is a tough situation to be in. I've never been by myself in my life. As I grew up, Mom and I lived in the household with my grandparents and a maiden aunt. I was surrounded by love. Then I met Elbert and we married (it was just before my 17th birthday) and he moved me to California where he was stationed in the Navy. But, I now had the companionship and love of my sweet partner. Children followed in quick succession so my life was busy, filled with the ups and downs of raising a family.
Then came Elbert's retirement (and the adjustment of having him home 24/7) We did our own thing but also had some amazing trips and times with our family who was now scattered over the east coast. No, I wasn't alone ever. And, now, the house creaks and sighs with moans of loneliness. I fill my days with hobbies long neglected and wonder about Elbert as he makes new friends in a new place in his life that doesn't seem to include me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It was a pretty morning, a bit muggy, maybe a chance of rain later in the afternoon. Sounded like a good day to visit Elbert so I headed over to Magnolia Manor.

I parked, gathered up my things (some wrapped candy for E., a couple more pair of socks, my quilting and my purse), pushed in the code and started down the hall of the Garden. I could see Elbert sitting at a table in the dining/tv room. A woman was sitting next to him.... and they were holding hands.
That just sort of puts a knot in your stomach but I knew it meant nothing so I smiled and said hello to them both. I sat down and started to chat, 'who's your friend?' I asked.  'I don't know', Elbert said. He had never turned loose of her hand. The music from the tv picked up tempo and he started moving their hands in time to the music. I had gotten out my camera and snapped a shot or two and that seemed to please Elbert. 'Back up a little', he suggested. 'Oh, you want me to take a picture of the two of you?' I asked. He nodded and pointed toward his friend. The scene was one of comfort, I think. The woman was in bad shape in her journey through Alzheimers and here my husband was, holding her hand so she wouldn't be alone or afraid. I wanted to cry, not for jealousy sake but for the memories of the man I had known over 60 years. That caring, loving, kind, gentle human being that I had fallen in love with still lived in the body taken over by this dread disease. I was so grateful that I could still get glimpses of who he was (and still is).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Visit Before My Surgery.

Eye surgery was Tuesday. Had no idea how long it would be until I could drive. Probably not long but I didn't know so I made sure I got to over to see Elbert on Monday afternoon.

When Shirley, Michael and I walked in, there he was sound asleep in a chair in the day room.
Shirley shook him' 'Hey Dad... you have company'. He slowly opened his eyes and looked at us with a sort of surprised look. 'Come on... let's go down to your room and visit'. Shirley is fantastic in getting action out of her Dad. She sat down on the floor next to his rocker and started a dialog about first one thing, then the other.
She showed him a card that his New York grandsons had sent and he loved that. Michael was tired and stretched out on his Dad's bed so Elbert teased that perhaps Michael could get a room at Magnolia Manor. Or they could be room mates. Shirley suggested bunk beds and Elbert laughed about that. He talked a good deal, Shirley pulling things out of him if he drooped his head to nod off. Too soon Martha showed up announcing Trivia time in the day room so we walked Elbert back down and left him in her care. I would have loved to have stayed out of the way and just watched to see how well he participated but it was time to go home and get ready for my surgery. I hated the thought of being incapacitated for a few days. But, if I was a good girl and did what the dr. said then I can soon go back to see Elbert soon and we can have a good visit.