Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Man in the Mirror

We have an antique armoire in our bedroom, and it has mirrored doors. During the day, the sunlight reflects through the window onto the mirrors and helps brighten the room. During the night on several occasions this past week, my husband has gotten out of bed suddenly to stand in front of those mirrors, staring at his reflection by the moonlight filtering through the window, not saying anything.

He seems curious about the man he sees there, leans over to look around to the side of the armoire, then looks at the front again, then the side again, then the front again. Side. Front. Side. Front. He doesn't seem agitated or threatened. I wonder what he's thinking. He still isn't saying anything. I ask him if something is wrong. He walks over to the window and looks out into the back yard, towards the neighbor's landscape lighting. Then he goes back to the armoire one more time and returns to bed.

"Who's that over there?" he asks, pointing somewhere between the armoire and the window. I don't know who that is.

In the past, he's asked me to look at the mirror in the hallway with him. He sees my reflection next to his, and I point out that we are the same two people who are in the framed photos just below it. Sometimes he accepts this explanation, and sometimes not.

This nighttime behavior of his with the armoire is new. I've read that Alzheimer's patients sometimes find it comforting to talk to their reflections. But sleep is at a premium at our place, so I'll probably have to cover the armoire mirrors at some point to avoid the distraction during sleep hours. Especially if he starts having conversations with himself.


  1. Hello Chris.

    We haven't met, but I am a long-time friend of Kathi Redick. I knew her and Dave long ago. She referred me to your blog, as sadly, you and I are on a similar path.

    My wife of almost 40 years, Linda, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's last summer, and our neurologist at the Mayo Clinic gave her a life expectancy of 4-5 years (what do they know, right?). This last year has been, well, interesting to say the least. We started a Facebook group, a private, intimate thing for her inner circle of friends... turns out there are almost 600 of them now. So much for intimacy. If you're on Facebook, I could send you an invite if you like. I'm trying to dump as much encouragement, scripture, and music as I can into her right now... and as I'm sure you are discovering, writing has been a huge help to me especially. Makes a few people uncomfortable, but, well...

    Anyway I read through your whole blog this evening (I know, because I have that kind of time on my hands...). Actually I was impressed by the clear way you are communicating this journey, and your humor (many times I was laughing out loud, and yet sometimes through tears... I'm sure this is how some of it was written as well). We are not nearly as far along this road as you are, and really the hardest stuff that's coming... I have no idea what I'm in for. I'm not sure I want to know, but it might be nice to be prepared (as if!) People think I am strong, but they're not sobbing with us in the middle of the night. Nothing against them at all; they really do care. Most of them just don't know what to do. And really, there's not a whole lot they CAN do anyway. We love them for caring.

    I'm not much of a support group person, but I wouldn't mind discussing this some time with someone who knows the road a bit, if you should be inclined in that direction.

    A little background-- Linda and I are passionate followers of Jesus, and have spent our entire lives in ministry, most recently the last 32 years here in Alaska, and before that in Hawaii. Yes, we're crazy enough to move from Hawaii to Alaska, but not vice-versa. Here's a link to my blog, for when you're sitting around with nothing else to do... :-)

    My name is Mike. Linda and I are 58 and 59; we married right out of high school and have been together all our adult lives. We adopted our son, Nick, from Romania when he was 8 months old, and we have a daughter a year younger than him. Both kids are grown and moved out, and our daughter is married with two children. Hey, at least we made it to become grandparents!

    Drop me a line some time. Thanks! And hang in there, sister. It's a hard road as you know, but this life is little more than the end of the beginning. Eternity is at our doorstep.

    Peace to you, dear sister.

  2. Mike, thank you for reaching out to me. Like you, I'm not into support groups. They are too depressing and are often overendowed with condescending people. I hope that didn't sound judgmental, and I realize it's just because they're maybe a bit farther down the road than I am. So they tend to chuckle at my concerns, because of course they've already gone on to bigger and better things. The thing is that I always feel worse after, rather than better. And I feel down pretty often as it is without seeking it out. I prefer to look up, and so do you.

    So, don't pay any attention to the doctor's estimates. Because...God! Which is not to say that we don't look the reality of the situation in the face. It's more that if we start the mental countdown, we'll be living a rather bleak and hopeless life. I don't want that, and I know you don't, either.

    What a wonderful life story you shared with me. I feel as though I know who you are and what you're about, and your blog is terrific (if only I could find the follow button).

    Kathi sent me your name, and so I have sent you a friend request on Facebook. I hope you accept it! And then we can communicate through Facebook message or via email, whichever is easier for you.

    By the way, it isn't at all crazy to move from Hawaii to Alaska. I'd like to move there from California, which I realize is kind of out of the question right now. But...God! Right? Hang in there, brother. You are not alone.

    Blessings to you!

  3. Hello Chris. Thanks for the note! For whatever reason, FaceBook messenger doesn't work on my phone, but I saw and accepted your friend request today, and invited you to Linda's group. I got your messages this afternoon when I came home from work. Thanks for the heads-up on the "follow" thingie. I found it and it's all set up now. I'm starting a new blog just for Linda's situation (you were my inspiration, thank you very much)! I'm loading it with posts right now, to bring it up to date and then I'll launch it and send you an invite if that's all right. Take care, friend.