An island is a piece of land that is totally surrounded by water and as the saying goes, “No man is an island.” While no man can be an island in the manner of surviving by himself, since all mankind is connected in one way or another to the human family. So, no man is an island. Although, two people can become isolated on two separate islands.
This is day 4 since Bill was admitted to the skilled nursing facility. I visited Bill today as I have since I moved him into the nursing home. The first two days, he was more relaxed when I left and he seemed a little built up in attitude. It appeared that he was adjusting to living in the home. I was not feeling very good yesterday so I stayed home. My nerves are really shot and I need to get away so I can take the time to put myself back together again.
When I went today, the story was quite different. I didn’t really want to go because I still wasn’t feeling real well, but Bill wanted me to come today and see him or else he was going to find someone to bring him home. When I finally arrived, he was quite agitated. He began right away saying that he had been there long enough and it was time for him to come home. He complained that someone had gotten upset with him and gave him a hard time.
I asked the nurse if she could get him something for his nerves and she said that she was going to give him his meds after dinner. I immediately broke down crying and told her that I should have taken mine before I came. Thus I was painfully reminded of my own emotional vulnerabilities. When the nurse looked at me with pity in her eyes. I was suddenly embarrassed by my own tears. Today Bill only wanted me to take him home, and all I could do is cry. I tried to tell him I couldn’t and he kept saying he couldn’t stay there.
His roommate came in and we spoke for a few moments. I know he felt uncomfortable as he heard Bill’s pleading to come home and my tears of frustration and anxiety of not being able to do anything about it. Tom, the roommate, left after a few minutes. I kept telling Bill that I had to go home because I was about to tell them to call an ambulance for me because I was falling apart again and couldn’t take anymore. When we passed by the nurses station I saw Tom sitting watching TV, and the nurse came to me and said that she was going to give him his meds right now.
The saying goes that no man is an island. That depends on how one looks at this sentence. Bill and I together were once an island. We shared something that was separated from the rest of mankind in the same way each marriage is separate and private from the rest of world. Yet we were still part of mankind. Now, from this time forward, things have changed.
Now we are both on our own islands since this island we shared split, and each is surrounded by water. The ugly face of dementia has caused this island to split. Now there are two. Separately we sit and will go through life on two separate islands.
The water that surrounds three sides of Bill’s island consists of the cold sea that gives off its’ fog as the sun warms the water. Through the fog Bill can still see me, but it isn’t too clear. The fog is thick and it clouds his mind as to the fact that there is no way off of his island.
My part of the island has drifted further away and is also surrounded on three sides with water. The water now separating Bill and I consist of the tears that we both have shed because of this ugly face of dementia. There is no end in sight of the tears that we both continue to shed since the diagnosis back in 2007. It will end though, the tears will stop for one of us.
Bill’s tears will finally end when he can no longer see me. He’ll forget that he once had a home, a family, and friends that love him. He will remember no more the happiness of being a family. He will no longer have the knowledge that he has any friends, even the ones he was close to. He will shed no more tears when the fog from our tears totally blocks the sight of me. No more will he be able to see me through the fog, for the tears will turn to fog.
As for my tears, they will end one day too. The moment the end of them come will be along with the last breath of air I take. Until then, I will try to occupy my time with only good, healthy spiritual things and activities.