Monthly Archives: December 2017


New Year’s is coming up and it is the one holiday of the year when i really miss my love. I remember the very first time in our decades together when he did not make a point of bending to me with a kiss that was a sweet pledge. That first year of the missed kiss, he was more interested in the music (shout out to Flying Debris) and no longer understood what all the other commotion was about.

But a kiss is just a kiss and compared to all the other troubles it is naught. Besides, I secretly stole my New Year’s kiss today, when he was joyful to see me, and said with a hug, “Someday i will get to spend all my time with you.”

“Yes you will,” i said truthfully, not botherimg him to say he already had so done for decades, or that he was firmly implanted in my head, keeping me company all the time.

And we rejoiced together briefly until something distracted.

It was in January 2005 that the doctor confirmed something was wrong. I had suspicions previously but in the months before that appointment Don had had two serious episodes that were clearly some kind of mini-stroke.

The doctor diagnosed Mild Cognitive Impairment.

As we walked out, my love asked, again, “Do you happen to know what day it is?” and I thought “If this is mild cognitive impairment, what’s it like when it gets bad?”

Over the next twelve years i was to learn, slowly and in agony, how much worse it could be.

The first few years were fine — quite livable. We took a great trip to Newfoundland, and a couple of years later a grand trip to Ireland. Now i shudder to think of walking through Heathrow with this thoroughly confused man, but we made it.

On later excursions back to his family in Ontario I learned a couple of tricks — use the disabled washroom because it only has one door.

And i was surprised the first time when Don folded himself gratefully, almost gleefully, into a proffered wheelchair at the airport. After that it became routine: Don in a wheelchair with our bags piled on top.

Eventually all these adaptations were not enough and we stopped travelling. Now it is even odds if he will even venture out of the ward, never mind outside.

But this long slow decline has left lots of time for fear and tears, and for love, for laughter. Even now his personality shows through, making faces and grinning delightedly when we laugh.

As i prepared to leave today, having by distraction and persistence convinced him to eat the blueberry muffin he started out afraid of, I leaned over and kissed him tenderly.

“Why’d you do that?”

“Happy new year,” i said as i stole another sweet moment.

“Thank you very much,” he said with his most angelic smile, having no idea of the content, but feeling the sweet emotion and returning it.

One more new year troth.


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The next day

The day after the Dancing, we sat quietly in the lounge. This took awhile, walking up and down the ward until he was calm, and then negotiating all those heavy doors with mysterious buttons that beep, and then another stroll around the main lounge, hopefully not freaking out any more “normal” residents.

Eventually he agreed to settle and we watched the people come and go, some of whom stopped to say, “Hi Don,”and be acknowledged with somewhat baffled proud dignity. He is not sure why “everybody knows me.”

Then after some calm, he spoke. The words were stammered, staggered, but consistent.

“You are beautiful.” (I secretly gave thanks for this persistent illusion, and for his eye that saw and still sees!)

Quietly, with grave determination, “I want to sleep with you, I want …to live with you….I want to be your husband… we could have a wonderful life together. ”

And, checking out the competition, “Is anyone else after you?”

“No,” I answer, stroking his cheek, “you are my only man. You and me did have a wonderful life.”

But that response is way out of the ballpark we are playing in, and his response is, “Well cmon babe, we’d better get going. Don’t you disappear.”

But of course as soon as we wandered back to the ward and he was distracted again, I did.

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It seems to some of my friends that this blog is just a way of wallowing in my loss instead of “moving on” whatever that means. Could be, just as spending too much time with my sweet devastated man flips me into melancoly.

But what’s a gal to do?

Today he was standing eating a banana when i got there, and a quick inspection revealed a rather disastrous new haircut. Perhaps just a half cut, interupted by his impatience or terror,  since the sides were almost shaved and the top flopped over, perhaps in a semblance of the new style, but to me reminiscent of Adolf.

We got a bit of a quick fix done and then trailed upstairs to the Friday party, as we have done so often.

Don was very unsure of the situation but as the music got him dancing he allowed that this place was pretty grand. “I’ve never been here before.”

A timely reminder that every situation, every sentence, is constantly new, potentially threatening, and requires great effort. His trust in me proved once again, to follow up the elevator and into a strange confusing room.

As we danced and i hammed it up a bit i was rewarded with huge happy smiles. “We can do this every night,” he proposed, always eager to spend time with me and always up for a party.

I agreed, but as the old rock love songs flowed, i secretly wiped away a tear or two. How not?

“Will you still love me tomorrow?”




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