Alzheimer's unseen victims surround us. Trying to say the long good bye, a husband turns his wife and checks her bed sores. In another part of town, a daughter pats her mother's hair in a care facility and chats about her day at work and what she'll fix the kids for dinner. A year ago, Beverly Isenberg sat alone in her home 90 miles from her husband in a care facility. She fought loneliness, trying to say good bye.
By: Beverly Isenberg
I had a real crying fit today. Again. I seem to spend most of my days either mopping my face and blowing my nose after crying or fighting back against the thoughts and memories that I know will bring the blues back until I cry again. And again.
I am really and truly sick of spending so much time disliking myself for being such a cry baby. I talk to myself a lot, agreeing that I can't change anything, that life goes on, that times change, that I should go with the flow, get on with it, forget about it, and so on. That kind of a pep talk works for maybe fifteen minutes and then something else will trigger a memory and I have tears running into my ears once more.
This time I was reading the Bob DeMarcos Alzheimer's blog. The title caught my eye, "REMBER." Except my eyes fooled me and what I thought I saw was the word, "REMEMBER."
I thought to myself, "Gosh, maybe there are other people in the world who are having as tough a time as I am getting along without their beloved. Maybe someone else has found the secret to getting on with life without their helpmate." I hurried to find my glasses and read the article. Oh, such a disappointment. It wasn't about remembering but something quite different, another drug that might be helpful in the fight against Alzheimer's.
My husband, George, is in an Alzheimer's care home 90 miles from me. We (just me, now that George is gone) live in a rural community where it is difficult (nay, nearly impossible) to find a live-in caregiver. So George and I are living separate lives. "Well," you may say, "You have been living separate lives for a long time. Why are you going on about it? George doesn't remember you, and hasn't for quite a while."
And I answer, "Yes. Yes, yes, yes." I know all that but I can't forget about him and I can't go on without him. I have to keep trying to find some way to bring him back home where he belongs. That's when the tears bubble up and my throat gets tight and I remember our life together and I want it back. Foolish old lady, life will go on but you might as well give up your hopes and dreams. George can never come home again and life will never be the same.
"But," I say, "Maybe that breakthrough will come and there will be a miracle drug on the market. Maybe even next week." Dream on, Beverly.
Then I begin to wonder. Would it be better if George were dead? Could I get over this lonesomeness? If there was a funeral and if I had to see him dead and buried forever would it be easier to forget about him? I think I must be going completely crazy to think this way. And I cry. Again.
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Beverly said, “Good bye” to George last summer during a military funeral near Redding, California.
Molly Brown, DMS
"Never Too Young For Child Abuse" is posted on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.