It is now 3 months and 2 days since I left my love in the hands of the care home staff. It still feels temporary. His things are all over the house, in case, I tell myself, he might want them again someday.
But he shows no sign of remembering all those things. There was a glimmer of interest when i brought in his beloved navy book but that now rouses little more than a shrug, although indications are he still waits for “The Navy to send for me.”
I have employed more therapeutic fibbing and told him the navy is paying for the care home, which quells his worries about cash for meals. He recognises me about half the time and is joyous when he does, telling me in his decades-old delusion since we first met, how beautiful i am. He has apparently decided this place, “which must have cost -I am guessing 50 million dollars,” would be a suitable place for us to live together. Perhaps that is why he now accepts my coming and going — after all if you live in a palace there are many things to look after.
On a walk, or rather, stagger, the other day, he bubbled, “Oh I am so happy. I love you so much. And,” he added hastily and firmly with a sideways glance, “Of course I love Delores too.”
“Well that’s good because i am Delores.”
“I knew that,”he chuckled fondly. Hmmmm.
Me? I am mostly blue and occasionally quite content. I am feeling the need to dress in black, to say to the world that i am in mourning. In fact i think i will, to heck with social convention.
Today the home was short-staffed (beyond the revelations in the Seniors Advocate report) and the aides were stressed and busy counting off essential tasks, scrambling to get everyone looked after.
My love sat in a chair, nodded off only to wake up and talk to the air, delicately and elaborately sipping at his fingers one by one. I slipped away and came home to weep.
After a nap — seeing him always makes me extremely tired — I went out to plan my tiny garden, in peace, for the first time in a decade. Ambiguous loss, Ambiguous grief indeed.