Sunday, November 8, 2015

Groundhog Day

I read along as I listened to the author read this article on OnBeing this morning.
First of all let me say, I love the OnBeing newsletter. I also love word pictures that paint a picture that you can see as well read. This article is one of those.  It's not that long, please go check it out. I'll wait.

The article called up a fear I didn't realize I even had. A little niggling something in the back of my brain that peeks out now and then, but never becomes full-blown "Yikes!" kind of fear.*
"I stop and sit each time, pulled to the window. I pause to listen and imagine the scene as the music sweeps into each corner of their home — over the graying couch in the sitting room, over the mounted family photos, over the beautiful open Bible on a wooden stand. Our elderly neighbor plays faithfully, the notes an affirmation of presence, a victory of joy, a connection maintained."
It was difficult when the doctor first diagnosed Sweetie with ALZ to wrap our minds around it. The early stages of grief - anger and denial - danced a two-step with the early stages of ALZ. Gradually the music wound down, real life - the one we have to live day by day - and my broken ankle brought us back to the present. Neither of us is very good at practicing mindfulness. Having a puppy helps. 

Then something comes up and we, individually and jointly, drift off into the scary ALZ place. The Glen Campbell movie, a video Sweetie watched on FB about a father and son, a disagreement over who starred in an old British mystery series (Maybe that one isn't ALZ induced, maybe just a case of wanting to be right. Just saying - I owe someone a dollar), driving places and forgetting the way, minor errors in the checkbook. Not in your face dementia. Just small reminders that he is slipping. At our age(s) who isn't?

As I wrote a few posts back, it was amazing how music bridged the gap between Glen Campbell's past and present. And I talked of my neighbor who could play old favorites on his trombone even when he couldn't remember his way home. So when I read that the gentleman in the OnBeing article also used music to connect with his wife, I can't help but worry wonder what will Sweetie's connection be? Of course I'd like to think it will be me, and who knows maybe it will be. We haven't been married for 50 years. We don't have the history. Sweetie doesn't have music to fall back on What does he have? The things he's always loved to do - reading, writing,  singing (Oh God, please spare me days upon days of Kenny Rogers tunes) don't seem to be the kind of things that will push through the fog of ALZ. Without a motor home in the driveway will he remember the time he spent work camping?

Every day is an opportunity to make memories. I'm just not sure they will be the deep seated memories that Sweetie will be able to call on. The truth of the matter is it's probably too late for that. All we can do is live each day. I've heard having ALZ is like the movie Groundhog day. The silver lining to that is you get chance after chance to make it better.
"I see the sparkle in his eye when he looks at her still, and it is both heartbreaking and inspiring. There is no measuring, no holding back, no keeping score or negotiating there. There is no use for pretense at this place in the journey, and he is all here, all in, with her."

May it be so,
Merry ME

*Note: I just reread the previous post I wrote about Glen Campbell. I realize I pretty much said here what I said there. See what I mean about how the worry kind of hangs on even when I'm not thinking about it.