Time and fate, the roll of the dice, give one no choice, maybe in most of life but certainly with this dreadful disease. Although I begin to wonder. Thoughts roll around my mind and I eye them out of the corner of my eye. I know not what this means. Yet. But the cauldron boils deep.
I wonder often how we look from the outside, Don and me, trapped in our dynamics. I wonder how the care aides and the nurses see us, they who are now closer to him than I am, in so many ways, including time. They who have a clearer more experienced view of the disease in all its manifestations.
Occasionally one of them says to me, matter of factly, as I react to some development, “It’s the disease. It is how it goes.” And the statement is charitable because this is the knowledge in the dementia ward. Inevitable.
How these caregivers live with this job I do not know. I have suspected for a long time that health care providers (and biologists) are a different kind of human. They live to a different beat.
So… back to the rabbits. Chatting with an aide i say, “I haven’t figured out yet what it is in his hand.” (He is constantly clutching precious cargo – stoops down to pick up mysterious things and holds them tightly for hours. An inconvenience when dancing, and difficult when eating.)
Oh, she says, “well sometimes it’s bits of dirt on the floor or other precious things – that only he can see – but sometimes it’s the little people.”
Ah, I breathe, remembering that strange Metis-Québécois-Irish mix of childhood stories he has told me over the years.
“Why yes you never know where the little people are. .. Darting around the corner, on the table, but yes, in his hand. He gave them to me once and said, You have to feed them. So i asked, what do they eat? And he said, That’s what we have to find out.”
Ummm. I can’t help a wonderful joyous belly laugh.
“But,” my informant continues,”it’s better than the rabbits.”
“Ah? Rabbits?” I do still feel in that family way responsible for my beloved’s behaviour although i never did have any control over it.
“Yes. Thank goodness we finally convinced him that they were only white washclothes and he leaves them alone now.
“Oh yes he had all the white wash clothes and the green ones on the floor and he kept trying to force the green ones on top of the white ones. Said they were rabbits and they needed to eat their lettuce and greens.”
I am, as they say, gobsmacked, but also laughing with the universe all the way home.
Our lives are slowly, painfully, diverging, inevitably. As, apparently, time – fate, destiny, all being, the universe -has decreed it must be.