My Dementia Diary 54 – Losing It

Last night, I lost it. Blew up. Exploded. Screamed.

It was a singular outburst of dramatic proportion, much more than the trivial event which triggered it, tripping on a misplaced shoe. One emphatic yell and it was over, but that was just the beginning.

My wife, who I know is emotionally fragile, takes any evidence that I’m displeased or simply not happy as an indication that I’m upset with her. My scream unleashed a storm of tears. Once started, there is no rational way to calm her down, it’s a matter of patiently waiting for her mind to reset. She’ll bounce angrily around our place, slamming doors, muttering to herself, and then, suddenly, she’ll come back, hug me, and ask me if I love her.

Of course I do, but I feel terrible that my outburst has so upset her.

I make every effort to avoid such venting, knowing the inevitable consequences. She is love on two feet, not capable of any thought but love for me, for anyone. It is impossible to be angry with her. But sometimes I get angry with being blind.

Then I’m angry with myself for causing her pain and vow to never do it again. 

But sometimes I just loose it.

tio stib

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Hand in Hand

the first time we walked together
we got lost
the perfect path
to knowing each other

she never complained
simply smiled
marveled at flowers and bird
held my hand

trusted

we’ve walked on
through mountain meadows
singing with bees and butterflies
dancing barefoot on foggy beaches
gleefully splashing in the waves
hiding under an umbrella in Spring rain
sampling strawberries at the Farmers’ Market
gossiping with passing neighbors
skipping to the grocery store
plopping onto our favorite bench

hand in hand

we walk on

 

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 52 – Drowning in Sadness

Because my wife’s dementia is deteriorating slowly, there are times when I forget it is happening at all. then, she says something-

“Do you have a wife?”

We were making breakfast when this question came up. My heart froze.

“Do you have a wife” she asked again.

I hugged her close and whispered, “you are my wife. You will always be my wife.”

“Of course,” she answered, kissing my cheek.

I am drowning in sadness.

tio stib

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Husband and Wife

in the beginning
we knew not where we were going
only
that we were going together

husband and wife

how can you know what that means
when dreams are blinding
when youth is fearless
when life is forever

we skipped down the yellow brick road
not a cloud in the sky
worries past by
lost
in our bubble of love

came curves and surprises
unexpected compromises
failures and broken words
a gathering of differences

darkening days

the same choice
again and again

husband and wife?

the same answer
again and again

husband and wife

two words now one

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 37 – Does She Dream?

I feel her sleeping next to me
her softness, warmth, and peace
What thoughts are dancing in her mind
what memories live from distant times
in a life that soon forgets today
what has dementia swept away

does she dream of long lost roads
when skies screamed blue and aspens glowed
when all our moments turned to gold

of dancing barefoot in the waves
running, laughing, in the rain
gathered round the Christmas tree
celebrating family
holding hands on sunset walks
listening as the other talks
smiling babies
hummingbirds
fragrant roses
loving words

I hold her gently in the night
shielding her from nightmare’s fright

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 36 – A Picnic in the Park

Sitting close beside me in the open train car, my wife chattered excitedly as the little steam engine pulled its load of families through the shaded redwood forest. It was a rare day for us, a trip away from home. 

We are blessed with good neighbors, adventurous folks who’d taken us for a picnic in the park, miles away from our small town routine. We’d hiked along a boardwalk to a pond where my wife excitedly pointed me at a row of turtles basking on a sun baked log. She’d squealed with baby pigs at the animal farm and gasped in surprise when a goat yanked the celery stalk from her hand. She chattered gleefully when the music started and her painted zebra moved up and down as the carousel whirled round.

Then, tightly packed, all sat together around our picnic table, sharing sandwiches, treats, and past summer stories in the warm afternoon sun.

The whistle blew , the train slowed, the ride and day would soon end. But I will be forever grateful for the kindness of our special friends.

image7.jpeg

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 35 – A One Act Play

Each day, every day, the curtain goes up on their one act play. 

The early morning hush is broken by her voice, “are you coming to walk with me?”

He rubs sleep from his eyes and answers, “yes, I’m coming.”

The blind man and his demented wife have said these lines well over one thousand times. The play, a new day, begins again.

They make the bed, dress, go out for their morning walk. She babbles on about family and friends who no longer come to see her. His mind drifts about, from birdsongs to the sunshine’s warmth, affirming as needed-

“Yes, I love you.”

“Yes, everyone is well.”

“Yes, it is a beautiful day.”

They stop to sit on a bench, inhaling fresh sea air, soaking up tranquility. He hears a distant train, a nearby bird. 

She asks again, “do you love me?”

“I will always love you.”

Inseparable, they walk on, greeting passersby. She coos to babies, stoops to pet dogs, fills the world with smiles. They shop, bank, deal with life’s necessities, then climb the hill for home.

There are meals to make, chores to do. These done, they sit at their desks, soft music playing. She whistles happily, coloring simple designs, her way of making beauty. Content in this peaceful bubble, he writes, seeking beauty with words.

“Look!” she pleads, confronting him with her finished pages.

“Wow!” he exclaims, blind to her colors but seeing her needs.

Later, she gets bored, and they go back out into the larger world, stop for coffee or ice cream, chat with neighbors, then climb the hill again.

Sometimes there are cameo appearances, short lived visits from family or friends. The script changes little. The show has even gone on the road, played for months in other towns, but the actors returned to the stage they loved best.

Day darkens and, holding hands, they wander down to the overlook,. She  surveys  their community, their town, and describes the people scurrying about on Main Street, the sailboats flying by on the distant water, the colors of the clouds above.

 They hug and kiss and head home.

The curtain falls. No ovations, no encores, no flowers tossed upon the stage.

***

As I lie in bed, waiting for the bliss of sleep, the day’s scenes play again, the smells, the sounds, the precious moments when she was happy.

She is the only audience I care about.

tio stib

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