I am sitting in my den, with my two faithful miniature poodles, Marcel and Shari. I like to sit here in the quiet and look out the window. It is sunny out and the wind is moving the trees just a little. The sky is blue, cloud free, and it is relaxing to me to look at this scene. It could easily be a painting or a photograph!
As I sit here, I think of my past, where I have gone and what I have done. I think about my youth, my parents, old friends, successes and failures.
All of this makes me realize the finality of this disease. Our pending move to the Retirement Community cements this. Why, because it is the last move. Regardless of how long I live or stay lucid, I will never leave Azalea Trace until I die. Now that is a sobering thought.
The old statement; I don't remember getting old, when did they? regarding our children and grand children is correct. Life has gone by so fast! So many things have happened that I remember like they were yesterday, how can this be the beginning of the end?
But, it is. And I might as well embrace it. After all, Azalea Trace is a beautiful place with much to do. In the visits we have had there, we have been treated like old friends by the residents in Independent living. And, I will not have the worries of maintenance. Yet, we have moved so many times in our marriage, settling in one place, with no chance of moving is difficult for me to digest.
I know this entire situation is a tremendous stress on my wife. I can see it in her emotions, reactions to issues, and the level of worry she carries. I am not the helper I once was. Heck, I don't even drive the car? Oh, I still wax it, wash it, and keep it clean. But driving on the road is probably long gone for me.
I yearn for one more time with my family from Cleveland, one more time with old shipmates, one more tour of a Navy ship, one more underway time, one more Firearms competition. But, those thing are difficult to make happen. I do understand.
So, I sit here, alone, except for the two poodles that follow me everywhere, and I stir around in my memory, stopping to look at the things that I did well and not so well. Thinking, what if... And know that will never be again.
Dementia is a strange, difficult, sad, journey for me and my wife. The hardest part is that no one really understands where I am mentally or emotionally. The truth is, they will never know. That is the most cruel part of this disease.
Hug your dementia patient. That means the world to us.