Bill and I went for breakfast at the hut as we do on most Fridays. The pain of separation is almost unbearable for Bill at this time. I’ve only taken him out twice this week and visited him once. I understand the way he feels because I would feel the same way if the situation was the other way around. I too would question someone’s love if that person put me in a place full of unknown old people and I couldn’t understand why.
As he sees it; and truly feels himself to be the same person he always was. Constantly he wonders why we can’t be together all the time. He can’t understand why he is not able to be with me at home again. Our tears fall easily when we first see each other, but this morning I was able to wait for my tears to begin. Off we went to breakfast with our friends.
We always enjoy ourselves on Friday even when someone has to help him fill his coffee cup or pour the syrup on his pancakes because he can’t figure out that the top of the coffee pot needs to be unscrewed one turn, and the syrup has an end that has to have pressure so it can be poured. He misses the coffee cup if he is left to do that himself. This morning was different. He became a little agitated when he had to be helped because he didn’t know how to work them. I looked the other way and began to talk to someone else so he wouldn’t see me look at him in this helpless position. He forgets that I already know these things about him and his friends do too. They don’t think he is stupid, they see what has happened to him from the very beginning. They have also watched his decline; some with tears in the open, others cry behind closed doors.
Bill has one friend that cares about him very much. They were close friends before this happened, and he still sees him and takes him out for the morning sometimes. This friend is not a hugger, but Bill and I had not been to the Sunday meetings in a few weeks because we moved away for a short time. When he saw Bill and I, he gave Bill a hug, (a manly hug of course). I was left with my mouth hanging open and a stunned look on my face when he gave me a quick hug too.
Yes, we have many, many friends and whether a few family members, or a large family, there are more people affected when someone has Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia than just family members. Sometimes the caregiver forgets that their loved one still needs their friends. Maybe they don’t know that this will help, or maybe he/she feels embarrassed and is trying to protect their loved ones.
Most of the time the caregiver is mindful of this need and welcomes the friends to remain friends with their loved one, Sometimes nothing has to be said, sometimes many things are said, but the best thing is to let the person with dementia take the lead in conversation. Or if you know the person well enough, talk about things you both know. Just say something. “Hi, I’m so glad to see you today. I sure miss you.”
It’s as if someone has a deadly disease. Sometimes friends stay away because they don’t know what to say. They are still the same person and you both still feel the same friendship so why should a lack of words keep you apart? This happened with my mom and her friends. It wasn’t too far into the Alzheimer’s when friends and family quickly became leeches instead. This was before we knew about it. My sister and I put an end to that simply because they were not friends. Maybe they had been taking advantage of her for a while already.
I’m happy that we have a large support system of family and friends; but still, there is pain that only you and your loved one can go through together. That is what marriage is about. Sharing the good times and the bad is what makes love grow.
It is a special life experience when friends see a disease change a person. It is another thing for them to help the spouse bear up under the pressure that can consume him or her. We have special friends that are able to help ease some of the stress. Today’s visit with Bill and I will be in another blog as there are some other things that were positive and fun. Those times still happen and are wonderful to be spoken of also. These are just a few of our friends, and there is not one of them that wouldn’t help when we need something. Each person in these photos has their own seet of problems in which we are there if they need us. We certainly support one another as the days go on..