It has been weeks since our daughter has taken my wife to live with her. Weeks of sorrow, tears, and loneliness, but also time to rest, to heal, to wonder.
Did I do my best to care for my wife?
What about all those explosions, those moments of frustration?
Yes, I slipped and fell many times, but I got back up, I learned to be more patient and understanding with her and with myself.
I’ve learned that love is not perfect. We do our best to be loving, to care for those dear to us, but sometimes actions don’t measure up to intentions.
Sometimes we fail to be as loving as we want to be. I certainly did. Yet, on a journey such as caregiving for a loved one with dementia, such failures must be forgiven because most of us have never had to care for someone whose mind is being eaten away by dementia even though their body seems to be unaffected.
This has been my biggest challenge. I’d be walking with my wife, holding her hand, hearing her whistling in delight at passing birds, and think to myself, what could possibly be wrong.
And then she’d ask me if we could go visit her mom while we were out walking, the mom who lives two thousand miles away.
She’s here but she’s not.
And the part of her who isn’t here will never be back again.
It seems there are some things we will never understand. I don’t understand dementia and why it had to take my wife away.
But, I do know I love her dearly and all I can do is care for her as best I can.