|Jim and Linda, Hawaii, 1969|
We had our family Christmas get-together the second week in December. The following Friday, we had our final practice session for the December nursing home gigs. On the way home, I stopped at Walmart to pick up a few essential items.
I walked into the store and stopped in my tracks. Why did they still have all that Christmas stuff out? After my initial shock, I realized that Christmas was still more than two weeks away.
It is no wonder I wouldn’t remember what day it was. My husband and I have been working on migrating our websites to a new server since the first of the month. The project is so fraught with problems, we’ve been working practically non-stop. “My brain is mush,” I told him.
I had been trying to write a note about the umpteenth way to approach a failure and noticed I was making letters backwards and out of place. My brain would not process how it was supposed to look. It made me think about Jim in the early stages of dementia. I wrote about it in Indelible, a memoir in progress.
Jim began to have difficulty writing. He would write letters but they wouldn’t make words. Most of the time, the combination was close enough that I knew what he meant.
I wanted him to feel useful and to “exercise his brain.” One morning, I was washing the breakfast dishes and Jim was sitting at the table. “Honey, would you make a grocery list for me?” I nodded toward the pad and pen I’d placed on the table. “We need paper towels,” I said.
He picked up the pen and wrote on the notepad. “We need milk,” I said.
He set the pen down. “I don’t want to.” He walked out of the room and I sat down to finish the list. On the paper, he had printed, “taper powels.”
Later he picked up the list and studied it carefully. “I wonder why I spelled ‘paper towels’ that way,” he said.
If not for the date displaying on my phone and PC, I would be completely lost as to day and time. Still, even those reminders aren’t enough when my mind is on overload. A few days ago, I looked at the date and noticed it was the day Jim and I married in 1969. I had a complete meltdown, then had to pull myself together to try to make it through the day. My mom called and our music was cancelled. I was torn between having more time to help with the migration project and disappointment that I wouldn’t be able to lose myself in the calmness of playing the ukulele.
I had planned to go to the funeral of our third family member to die within the last thirty days. I would have been there, except for some strange reason, I thought the funeral was Saturday. We played music Friday, and I never sat down to read the paper until late. I saw the funeral notice and my heart sank when I realized I had missed it.
Soon it will be a new year and a time of promise. I look forward to getting back on track and living the retirement dream. I look forward to a time when the outside stress and pressure subside, and the drama ends. I’ll be glad when life gets back to normal.
I think I need one of those shirts or mugs that say, “This too shall pass. It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.”
Copyright © Dec 2018 by L.S. Fisher