After doing, I thought, very well at this new life, even managing to cook dinner for myself once or twice, and getting a lot of work done, I am suddenly trapped in wave after wave of sorrow, welling up unexpectedly, overwhelming me at inopportune times. Talking with friends is sometimes difficult.
I am haunted by the memory of my beautiful man, hunched over and lurching down the hall, calling urgently after a dark-haired caregiver who is scurrying to another patient, “Delores! Delores!”
“Hi Don,” I call, holding out my hand. He wavers, between me and the hall where the caregiver disappeared, back and forth, back and forth.
Lately it is obvious that although he is usually delighted to see me, kissing my hands joyously, he also forgets I am there and wanders off, to confuse another woman with me. This is a mercy for him if he can find comfort in that, and hopefully makes the job a little easier for the caregivers.
But it leaves me remembering our many joyous years and thinking, how did this happen? How did we end up like this? And then i realise I no longer have long dark hair. It has turned grey, as it should, in the passage of time. And all creatures must die, to make room for the young.
I am reminded of words a therapist told me: “Of course you are in grief. Your husband is dying, the long, slow, hard way, fading like the Cheshire cat.”
2 responses to “Waves”
Oh, Delores, my heart goes out to you. Yes, it’s true that what you and Don are dealing with is just part of the process of life. I remind myself daily that none of us are getting out of here alive, but still, the sorrow is, at times overwhelming, and such feelings were virtually unknown to me until Kip’s disease took over every nook and cranny of our lives. I don’t know about you but I was ill-prepared for my loved one being taken down by a degenerative neurological disease. I had no idea what it meant to be a full-time caregiver where once I was a lover, friend, and partner. I fought tooth and nail to save the life we had together and, of course, I failed. Some things are bigger than me, I had to learn. I have no answers for you, no wise strategies for saving you from this grief, except to say that you will make it through this and, like me, live to reconstruct your life, your very good and precious life. Sending you love and some understanding.
Thanks Judith – yes you have been through this all the way. And no, for some reason I never expected our story to end this way…and of course you and Kip didn’t either. Thank you again.