We both cried and our friends were trying not to cry as I told him how it was taking parts of me away too. If you’ve been following any part of this story, you know the things that it’s doing to me. He insisted he didn’t want us to be broken up. It was difficult for him to grasp that we were still married, we will always be married. I kept re-assuring him it isn’t anything he did, and he can’t help needing the kind of help he needs. I reminded him again and again that it is this horrible monster of a disease that is eating away his brain and it is never going to get any better. I had to keep reminding him that I love him, I would always love him and he is forever my husband and I his wife. The difficult part is that they cannot grasp the idea that we are not getting divorced.
The dementia victim is not capable of understanding that he did nothing wrong and he can do nothing to make things normal and return home. So we both cry a lot and hug each other because re-assurance is the only thing that can help them feel a little more secure. Yesterday, we were having some elders from our congregation visit. So we both showered there together which is allowed for married people.
This reminded me that this was exactly as it was at home. I had to help him shower, I had to rinse him, dry him off. I had to dress him so he had everything on the correct way. I had to tie his tie and make sure his hair was combed. This was exactly like he was home with me. I see that I need to back away from that type of thing. I’m also going to shorten my visits with him because the longer I am with him, the higher the anxiety level goes.
Bill and I are both going to have to let go a little and not spend so much time together for now. He needs to get used to the fact that he lives there now and won’t be coming home to live here again. I must get used to not having him at home. This is definitely a bittersweet window that has opened.
Another thing to expect when a dementia patient is put into the nursing home is that they will look at you through the tears and their eyes will plead with you not to desert them. It rips your heart in two and all you can do is turn and leave and on the other side of the door silently sob with a guilt you don’t deserve to feel…
Right now the only things I can do is to try to make him a little more comfortable by bringing a few trinkets from home to make his surroundings a little more familiar to him and help him to accept that this is now home.