Sunday, July 31, 2016

Jason Bourne

Yesterday afternoon, we went to see the new film, Jason Bourne. We love Jason Bourne movies and own all the ones that have been released. Like all Jason Bourne movies, it was full of excitement and action and good-looking people with lots of muscles. And car chases. Lots of chases of all kinds. We both enjoyed the film, and he didn't even fall asleep.

When we got home, he sat down in the kitchen as I went to our room briefly. He came to find me almost immediately, because that's what he does now. He needs to know where I am. Perhaps being alone makes him anxious.

"So, are we going somewhere today?" he asked somewhat impatiently.

"We just got home from the movies," I replied.

"Okay, but I didn't see any movies!"

"The new Jason Bourne movie," I explained, hoping this information would help him retrieve the memory. Apparently, I still don't "get it" that his memories can dissipate like vapor.

"Jason who?!"

We went down to the Man Cave to watch some television, as is our habit in the evening. I sat next to him, as I always do.

He looked at me thoughtfully and said, "Where have you been lately?"

Quite often when he asks me a question, I'm not sure exactly what it is he wants to know, so I ventured, "With you..."

"Really?" he smiled, "With me?"

For a moment, all was well with the world. I smiled back and suggested, "Let's watch Bourne Identity!"

"OK!" he answered, "I love those movies!"

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Where's Mom?

Just about every day, sometime in the early afternoon, my husband looks up from the 100-piece puzzle he's working on laboriously (he can still do those with 'a little help') and asks, "Where's Mom?" It's a different question than the "Mom's gone, isn't she?" he used to ask.

This is a relatively recent development. He used to ask about his mom during sundowning time in the evening, not earlier in the day. He also asks about his siblings as though they've gone out without him and are expected home any moment. Or maybe he's expecting me to say they are playing in the back yard. I think he thinks I am one of his siblings sometimes. Or some other random adult.

His mom passed away in 1973 at the age of 49. My husband was 24. Usually, I remind him that his mom is in Heaven with mine and with our dads. Sometimes, he receives this information matter of factly; other times, it makes him very sad and tears well up in his eyes. Which is interesting, because I don't recall that he allowed himself to cry at the time. And it breaks my heart to see him cry. But I digress.

Today, instead of reminding him once again that his mom is deceased, I asked him, "Where do you think she might be?"

"In Redding?" he ventured. This is the area where he grew up, but he hasn't lived there for decades.

"Oh?" I replied, "And how old are you?"

He seemed to be mulling the question over for a moment or two, and I asked again to make sure we were on the same track. He has a tendency to forget what I've said rather quickly these days; but, then, he has a tendency to forget everything rather quickly these days.

"45?" he offered tentatively.

It reminded me of a time when my dad started laughing as I mentioned my age. He said it was impossible for me to be that old, since he was younger than that himself. In fact, 45 is the number he used. He was in his early 90's. He had dementia, you see. A lot of the experiences I am now having with my husband remind me of things my dad said or did. Double your trauma, double your fun (new words to an old jingle. Hum along if you remember it).

I find it so interesting how my husband's brain hops and skips around. I thought memory would be affected chronologically, in reverse. But that doesn't seem to be how it works, necessarily. Sometimes he remembers things, most times he doesn't (even right after they happen), and lots of times the "memory" is an exercise in creative writing.

The human brain is a thing of wonder, isn't it?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Where's Christiane?

I'm standing at the stove, stirring the sauce for our dinner. It's been a very difficult day, and I am anxious for it to be over.

"Are we going out for dinner?"

"No, I'm cooking dinner right now," I respond. We did go out for dinner, but the evening wasn't going well. At. All. I won't go into it, because it's still too raw. I'm embarrassed and humiliated, and we can't show our faces there again. Not today, anyway. We came home without eating or even finishing our beverages. He doesn't remember a thing about our outing (or our other outings today, for that matter), and he's irritated that I seem to be upset with him for some reason.

"Is Joanne here?" Joanne is his sister. She lives in another town and visits regularly.

"No," I respond, "She's at home at her house."

"Where's Chris? Or Christiane?" he draws my name out sarcastically. It's most unbecoming. I'm upset at his sarcasm at my expense, but I've already heard so much of it today that it really doesn't add anything to my irritation.

"I'm Christiane," I respond. I'm dejected.

It's been a very difficult day, and I just want it to be over. He eyes me up and down. Clearly, he isn't convinced that it's really me. It isn't the first time.

"Oh," he sneers, "I thought you were someone else. Where's the guy that was here?"

There's been no guy here. It's been a very difficult day. I just want it to be over.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Non Sequiturs All Day Long

I was so upset, having just found out that a book I got 'direct from the publisher' could have been obtained through Amazon for half the price (and with free shipping). It's taken me years to figure this out so, really, the fault is entirely mine. However, I was sufficiently incensed to write a scathing email to the publisher complaining of the price gouging and requesting cancellation of future shipments, deletion from the mailing list, and so on.

I decided to read it to my husband before sending it. It can't hurt to read it aloud, making sure all the complaints have been included and the tone is sufficiently indignant. He seemed to be listening to me, so that encouraged me to give him all the details and ask him for his opinion.

"So, what do you think?"

"Well, I like this one right here," he said, pointing to one of the coins he had just organized on the table.

That's nice, honey, but what does it have to do with what I was reading to you? I may have actually said this, but I'm pretty sure I just thought it while giving him a blank look. Or what I hope was a blank look.

Later, we were driving to the coffee shop, and I was telling him about a situation at work that was of increasing concern to me.

"Like that gray one over there," he said, pointing at a car stopped on a side street.

It happens all the time. All day long. I'm talking about one thing; he's talking about another. Or perhaps it's more that he's easily distracted. It seems that by the time I finish a sentence, he's forgotten the first part of it. A friend suggested shorter sentences. I'm working on it.

One of the things I miss most is a real conversation with him. I miss the ability to share my thoughts, feelings, or ideas with any expectation that he's processing those and preparing his feedback. There's plenty of talking going on; it just doesn't always make sense.

If you've been in a life partnership for decades as we have, you've probably developed the ability to finish each other's sentences. To notice the same things at the same time and perhaps even to make identical comments simultaneously. Or to not comment at all while stifling your giggles, if that seems wiser. Treasure that.

I Don't Publish Everything

Dear Friends,

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I don't, in fact, publish everything that happens. If I did, I would be posting all day long. And oftentimes during the night, too.

There are occasions when the emotion is yet too raw, or the event doesn't add anything to the conversation, or it simply isn't the right time to share. Or I'm too worn down and disheartened. Sometimes writing about an incident brings it into proper perspective, but other times it just makes it seem worse. And so there are a lot of posts on my blog that haven't been published yet. Almost half, actually.

To those of you who have encouraged me to write more often, please know that sometimes I just can't bring myself to do it. Or maybe I'm concerned that you'll lose interest or, even worse, become overly apprehensive. Sometimes it's high drama around here, but other times it's just a sitcom. Maybe it just depends on how you look at it.

I like to hear from you, and I appreciate your kind words and comments. I especially appreciate your prayers as my husband and I walk this road that's sometimes smooth as silk (the sitcom) and other times, without warning, a raging torrent (the high drama).

Thank you for your support, and thank you for reading my blog and recommending it to others. Let's raise awareness together.


The Screwdriver

I look up from my work to see my husband rummaging through the kitchen drawers, obviously agitated and impatient.

"What are you looking for, sweetie?" I ask.

"A screwdriver," he replies, "It needs to be tightened."

"What needs to be tightened?"

"The screw," he says sarcastically as if to imply that perhaps I have a screw loose for not knowing this simple fact.

"Okay," I venture, "What screw?"

"A SCREWDRIVER! You know what a SCREWDRIVER is?!"

"Yes, honey, I know what a screwdriver is. I'm just wondering what you're working on is all," I respond cautiously, fully aware that there's no telling what in the world he is "repairing" and what kind of mess I might have to clean up in a little while. But not mentioning that concern.

"SEE?" He shows he a handful of screwdrivers he has brought from the garage and has found in my tool drawer. "A long thing? With an end on it? To do things with?!"

"Yes, I see," I respond, trying one more time, "I was just asking for more information about your project."

"It's a SCREWDRIVER! You're making me crazy!"

Oh, my darling. The feeling is sometimes so very mutual.