It is just over a year and five months since Don went to the light. The fog of grief and trauma is receding, slowly, although sometimes washing or roaring back up like a high tide, and then it slowly laps away again, for a day or a week.
It is, I think, probably going to be survivable. That was, I suspect, seriously in doubt at times.
Anyway, looking back, of course there are so many memories i cherish. I am pretty sure i test my friends’ patience telling these stories, although they deny it. To be honest, i don’t really care – i can tell them to myself just as well. And some really are zingers, others are just fond and lonely recall, a way of keeping him near me.
But looking way way back, i am recalling how, long before he started cutting boards short, long before the doctors, he started with these weird jokes. He would pretend he had forgot something – my name, what meal we were having, who his sons were, whether we were planting potatoes or tomatoes.
There was always a somewhat comical twist to these little jokes, but there was also always a very intent examination of my reaction, to see if i thought it was funny.
It was clearly so important to him that i always laughed or smiled, even long after he really HAD forgotten, during the time – a few years – of denial he went through.
Thinking back, i realise he was checking, testing, trying to use his intelligence for a self-assessment.
Later when it got worse, he would use that same intelligence to tell our friends (probably over and over! but i figured they could handle it for 10 minutes during my 24 hour caregiving day) that he had Alzheimers. I asked why and he said, “Because you see, when i get so bad that I need help, they will know what is wrong and help me.”
And people did their best.