My Dementia Diary 56 – Dealing with Resentment

“Tis the season of returning Spring vacationees, folks coming back from school breaks and family outings, eager to share the stories of their adventures. I force myself to smile and say, “how nice.” But it’s easy to be resentful.

Sure, cross country skiing through pristine trails in the mountains, drinking margaritas at sunset on a Hawaiian beach, or visiting the the wonderful museums in Washington, D.C., sounds like fun. 

If you’re not blind and caring for a wife with dementia.

Sour grapes? Totally, which is why I work hard not to fall into the resentment trap.

After all, how many people get up in the morning with money in the bank, no debt, and food in the refrigerator? How many people go for a leisurely walk each morning in a comfortable climate through a safe and friendly small town, past sweet smelling flowers and singing birds, and listen to the gentle lap of waves on a beach?

Our adventures may not be as grand and exciting as the returning vacationees, but  ours are no less delightful.

I’m better off being grateful for what we have, than resenting what we don’t.

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 42 – My Gratitude List

Today’s gratitude list-

our good health and well being
a comfortable home that fits us perfectly
living in a safe town in a free country
clear air to breathe, clean water to drink
hot showers
phone calls from caring family
the Brocks, our compassionate neighbors
hot chocolate  and chocolate chip cookies
our daily walk adventures
digital music from Beethoven to Arkenstone
a computer that defies blindness and lets me write
a life full of smiling memories
audio books and my writing mentors
2012, our honeymoon year
a tasty club sandwich
playing the banjo
hearing my wife whistling
snuggles and wet kisses

and another birthday, happy, happy!

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 12 – My Grandfather’s Clock

There is a clock sitting on the shelf near our bed. It belonged to my mom’s dad and was passed on to me, making it my grandfather’s clock. Over a hundred years old, this timepiece is relatively small, meant to be set on a fireplace mantle, but it has a surprisingly vibrant chime. There are no batteries within, its mechanism driven by a coiled brass spring, which I wind weekly with a dozen turns of a key. For this effort, I am rewarded with a melodious chime counting out each and every hour.

I take comfort from these chimes, from the tick-tock of the ever swinging pendulum, an aroused awareness that time is now. I wonder if my grandfather, my mother, other family members, felt a similar connection.

I’ve lived more than 600,000 hours so far, a surprising number when I attempt to remember the breadth of my life experience. what happened to all those hours? The more important question, what will I do with the hours I have left?

Each tick of that clock is a moment I will never have again.

How many more chimes are left in my life?

How blessed I am to have had so many hours of being.

As my wife sleeps peacefully beside me, I again find comfort in the tick-tock of time, past, present, and future, and I drift away in hopes of hearing the morning chimes once more.

There’s an old folk song that beautifully expresses my sentiments, perfectly named, “My Grandfather’s Clock.” Here’s a link to a Johnny cash rendition

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 11 – Morning Bliss

After several weeks of blustery cool and wet weather, today dawned warm with azure skies. We started out on our daily walk with one less layer of clothes. I’d even gone so far as abandoning my jeans for shorts. The Spring air, the melodies of newly arrived songbirds, my wife’s constant flow of delighted descriptions of happenings around us, was blissful.

I was suddenly struck with how fortunate we are to have the life we live, a peaceful and safe town closely connected to Nature, nearby friends and convenient walking access to all our daily needs, a comfortable and affordable home.

Given the challenges dementia and blindness present us, it’s hard to imagine how we could have a better living situation.

On top of these blessings, is the gift of still being able to share the simple joys of living in such a perfect place with my wife. True, we no longer have any sort of deep intellectual conversations, yet we can enjoy the little things. Ice cream cones and hot dogs. Tea and cookies. Hummingbirds at the feeder. the honks of Canada geese flying overhead. The smell of the beach at low tide. The laughs of children at the playground. “Hllos” and “How are yous” with neighbors and passersby.

My wife has become my eyes. through her childlike curiosity and delight, I am able to enjoy the world around us.

For this, I am deeply grateful.

tio stib

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The Magic of Breath

unseen
untouched
and barely felt
how can it be
so precious

and yet
each day
it slips
unnoticed
past the lips
through the noses
of millions

there is magic in a single breath
the start of life
the call of death

tio stib
2017

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A Time When I Could See

there was once, some years ago
a time when I could see
when ladybugs and butterflies
meant everything to me

a soaring hawk
a baby’s smile
a surging wave around my feet
falling leaves
the setting sun
the colors oh, so sweet

a christmas tree
a bumblebee
bright new socks
birds flying free
a black red rose
a sparkling sea
the rising moon

these simple things meant all to me

there was a time, some years gone by
when what I saw could make me cry

that time has past, just silent screams
are left to echo in my dreams

tio stib, 2016

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High on Gratitude

in the muck of news’ day platitudes
I’ve lost my cheery attitude
midst hate and anger screamed and spewed
what happened to beatitudes

but past these ugly, mindless feuds
beyond behavior simply rude
there is another world that can be viewed
in Nature’s holy latitudes

in this world outside our doors
flowers dance, birds sing, and oceans roar
a world that heeds not human news
where souls soar high on gratitude

Tio Stib Signature

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