Looking back on our life with dementia, I realize my wife and I never had “the Talk.” We never sat down, cried, agonized, shared our fears and feelings about the difficult road in front of us.
Listening to recountings of other couples on similar journeys, I’ve often heard about how they worked together to plan and prepare for the disease that was going to suck the life out of one of them.
We never had these conversations, never made plans together, it just didn’t happen.
Partly, that’s because one of my wife’s many endearing qualities is that she lives in the moment, and after the moment, the day, and after that, maybe the week. I’ve never known her to think much beyond that. I’m the strategic thinker in the partnership while she keeps me grounded in “be here now.”
Also, I believe that her dementia actually began affecting her quite some time before it became obvious to others. There were occasional episodes of memory lapse and emotional strangeness that were discounted at the time, but perhaps were early indicators of a lurking problem.
When we finally found ourselves listening to the neurologist telling us my wife showed symptoms of dementia, I don’t think she could grasp what the doctor was saying. Hell, she felt fine, life was good, so what if she forgot a few things.
That was six years ago. My wife and I never had “the Talk,” and what good would it do now? Yes, I do have an ongoing dialogue with the rest of the family about how to best care for the woman we all love, helping her to have. each day, a healthy and happy life.
She does ask me sometimes, when she thinks people are talking about her, “am I crazy?”