LOVING WITH ALZHEIMERS


“I told you yesterday and the day before” she snaps but only in her mind. Some days she is afraid the words actually come out of her mouth for him to hear. In no way would she remind him knowing how bad he would feel forgetting, the frustration and anger with himself.
The days are long and lonely for them both, no one but doctor appointment reminders or telemarketers call. No one comes by to visit even the housekeeper they could barely afford comes anymore.
He sleeps in his recliner in front of the tv not liking to sleep in the bedroom anymore which at times she appreciates  yet most times not. She misses the feel of him, the warmth heck even the snoring.
Many days  when the weather is pleasant she has him sit outside on the deck for the fresh air and sun while she slowly cleans, oh for the days when she could clean more than one room a day. She learned to lock the gates the first day he decided to wander, one minute he was sitting quietly the next he was gone. Racing outside to look and her heart stopped seeing the gate swung open. She quickly slammed it shut and to the front of the house, she ran as quickly as she could and there he stood, he looked up from the Elephant Ear plant and calmly as if he was unaware of her panting breath and the grimace of pain on her face  stated, “look how big these leaves have grown.”
Times like these she thought maybe just maybe God will be good to them and keep him at this stage, she could live with him like this happily for many years. Then he looks at her to the plant and back to her and mumbles something about being late for work and her heart weeps again.

MY YEAR OF 2014


Many that follow this blog know I have been away for some time, healing to the extent a mother can when she loses a child. Learning to love life again and accepting that every day for the rest of my life I will miss my precious daughter, but that I must heal and bend into this new normal and be the me I was before…before my world fell apart. I am picking up the pieces and moving on, not easy but with love in my heart for the preciousness of life and spreading that love in every way physically by deed and with my words.

This year of 2014 has been one of insignificance in some ways, everyday hum drum, losing loved ones, gaining new friends, building relationships, helping others to grow. I suppose no different for me than for many others. This year has been one of reflection as well, as I grow in age, maturity and wisdom I find that with age comes a lot of shaking my head in amazement at the memories of things I have done or said. Believing I was so smart or witty when in reality at 63 years seven months and 22 days I am not much more mature, educated or steadfast than at the age of 25 or 30. 
I have learned this year that it is okay to be all those things I was at 25, I can still be stubborn, opinionated; believe in one God, family, friends and to take back my joy.

I have learned this year that it is okay to express love to embrace it and then throw it away like confetti raining down during the stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I have come to believe that everyone is capable of love and of accepting it when given if one chooses. My philosophy this whole year has been to give the love I have inside hoping it challenges the receiver to pay it forward in their circle, to experience the weight that tends to lift from the shoulders when they start spreading love as I have.

I do not mean go around hugging everyone and saying “I love you” unless that is your thing.  I do not and have never let a loved one leave the house, a call or a text without saying I love you, just something I do personally and the rewards, oh my the reward that comes from those three words. Say in your mind each day, “today I will love everyone” make it your mantra. When stuck in traffic and feeling the rage, or sharp words with a co-worker, a child, a spouse just whisper in your mind “today I will love everyone” and you will see how much your attitude, your mind, your spirit/soul begins to feel lighter and more joyful. This, I have done, this year of 2014 and it has been wonderful.
Don’t get me wrong I have had days, weeks of bad ; arguments with grown children, service providers, my chair sitter, especially when he starts “sun downing”  (Alzheimer’s) many of life’s normal irritants’ but through it all I am loving and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to do so.
I love you.

VALENTINE LOVE


The nursery that had never seen a baby in all the years they had tried for one, she  dragged the old vanity bench from her room to the closet, the old doc had said after the last one lost it was too hard on her body to keep trying. Climbing up on the bench she stretched reaching to the back of the shelf she pulled out an old paper wrapped box. At one time the box had been red but now a faded pink and orange as if from faded sunlight, the doily heart stitched in the center still held. Blowing off the fine film of dust, she stepped carefully from the bench surprised it held while she was on it both being older and she heavier now. Walking over to the cot in the room she sat and gently opened the lid, pieces of the paper flaking off and falling to the thread bare carpet underneath her feet. Tears welled up in her old rheumy eyes as she gazed upon her beloved Jasper’s handwriting, every card, note, and letter he had ever written was contained in this box
 She had made it when she was but a young girl of ten, Jasper gave her this card right here on Valentine’s Day when she was nine years old. This one when she was thirteen, and this one when he proposed, with all the notes through seventy-one years of marriage and this bundle here the letters when he went off to war. Oh how she missed her best friend, husband, companion and lover gone now eleven years and her going to be one hundred one next month he went peacefully in his sleep, she wished she had gone too for it was just so lonely without him.

She had not thought of these old cards for some time not until she had noticed the children walking past the house on their way home from school with their little red bags and boxes with hearts. Then she remembered it was Valentine’s Day, their anniversary of eighty –one years she believed; time had done a trick on her memory and especially with arithmetic which she never was any good at anyway, she chuckled to herself.

Ella read the majority of Jaspers cards and letters and as the sun began to set, she opened the old trunk that sat under the window in that room. Taking out a tissue wrapped dress she laid it on the cot with its floor length train and veil as if resting on the pillow. She gazed through rheumy eyes at the yellowing lace remembering and seeing it white as the pure snow and how it flared out at the bottom as they danced that day. 
Slipping off her house dress she donned the faded yellow gown surprised it was a near perfect fit she was a little wider in the hip but it did fit. Placing the veil upon her white head she looked in the mirror and time washed away she was eighteen again and Jasper was reaching out his hand standing at the alter smiling.

Newspaper Article.
Ella Rose Ford (nee Jackson) a homemaker of Peach Grove, Georgia found in her home
February 14th,  passed peacefully in her sleep. She was preceded in death
by her husband  Colonel Jasper William Ford of the area.  This would have been the
Fords eighty-first wedding anniversary. No other survivors known.

WHY CAN I NOT FORGET?


The scent of abandonment lingers in the air as I step through the door we once shared.
Dust coats the piano, sheet music bent, brittle and yellow shares a space.
I hear echoes of music we played, sang and danced to in this room, now smelling of dust and dead mice.
Dead like our love, the love we shared here in twisted sheets, the scent of our sweat as we loved and made promises now broken.
Crumpled clothing dropped to the floor like confetti, when dancing led to lovemaking…oh why can I not forget?

The silence echoes with words whispered so sweet, every word you sang, every passionate nuance to your voice vibrates within me.
Each key you delicately touched exuding  the passion of your soul; another piercing to my heart. Your voice echoes in the windows, walls, and cobwebs; hanging from every crevice …oh why can I not forget?

The scars etched on my heart like branding upon my skin, I had to see if I could come here, touch you again.
The wounds are deep, the pain is still here after all this time it breathes like dragon fire within.
I hear you calling me in softness, whispering ‘come, come be mine forever’ touching me, burning trails along my skin as if fire lived in your fingertips. I can feel you possessing my soul even now after all these years…oh why can I not forget?

I stand at this window as darkness invades this room where we played, sang and danced. I look in the
only box left in this room smelling of dust and dead mice, searching for a part of you to wash away the memories and the scars, finding nothing but crumpled tissue paper and an old shirt.
Now I am alone with the ifs, and should haves and my broken heart…oh why can I not forget?

THE VIOLIN


Having no children of their own in some way this was the child he and Beth had born together, Glenn laid the rare violin on the red silk of the case interior as gently as a sleeping child.  His wife had caressed, cuddled,  and wept with it over the years  her music  none other had ever sounded as sweet or perfect in tone and pitch as when  she played . The three had been around the world, heard in every country from the largest to the smallest of venues. They traveled with it always in one of their laps, never had it been regulated to luggage status, until Beth went to the home the violin always stayed close to her. Now as the  entrusted  keeper of this beautiful antique instrument, she had asked him to deliver the violin   and her hearts desire was his.

Their flat in New Haven being old and drafty Beth could no longer take the cold or play here as the arthritis had crippled her body, she could not walk nor hold the bow as well when it was  cold, she had also been diagnosed with that damn mental disease the big “A”.  She had moved to the facility for as her mental ability deteriorating rapidly, it didn’t look good for her coming home this time around.
Today there was a Christmas program at the home, Beth wanted to  play for her friends as her gift to them this season. She was known  world-wide  yet none at the home knew who she was and she liked it that way, no fuss or bother she insisted.
Beth loved Christmas and loved playing in New York, Rome or London, each year during the season, said it brought her closer  to heaven in those places, although when they went to Jerusalem, she played for hours at the wall weeping over every note she played and though they were many she never tired, the more she played the more crowds gathered to listen and weep with her that is where her music had taken on an ethereal sound she claiming she found her soul and God at that wall.
He  carefully packed the violin and drove the few miles to the home, seeing his love in her wheel chair wrenched his heart each time bringing moisture to his rheumy eyes, the beautiful young vibrant seventeen year old of over half a century ago is the way he would always remember her in his heart, yet his eyes could see the age now, more so with her infirmity. He gave a light tap to the door jamb leading to her room she raised her eyes bestowing that beautiful smile upon him meaning today she recognized him and he rejoiced for her eyes were twinkling…”O, how I have missed you” she said to him. “And I you my love”, they sat in her room and chatted while she brought the violin from its case holding, caressing, plucking strings at a quiet level.
The Christmas Program was to start right after dinner of the traditional American fair with a few dishes from some of the women from Poland, Germany and Russia and one from Greece that made Baklava, Glenn was ecstatic at the feast offered, his canned soup dinners had become boring. The program ran for about an hour when Beth asked the director of activities if she might offer some music. Her request granted she opened the case to gasps and murmurs at the beauty of such an instrument, then as Beth began to play tears flowed at the haunting beauty and the magic of the music.