Category Archives: best friends

In closing this series

Not that I fear death nor do I forget that this is a sensitive subject. This is particularly something that is on my mind since my husband passed away on December 7,  2017. There is only so much that one person can do by themselves and everyone expect them to hold it together. My stepson and a brother-in-law have been helping me with the details.

Well, we are burying him in his hometown of Fairbury, NE two days after the memorial, those were his last wishes. Therefore since I don’t have a car anymore,
and I was in an extreme state of emotional turmoil were the reasons that kept me from making another simple decision. Whether I could drive myself up there and/or stand this emotionally, I needed someone to tell me what to do. I could not make another decision on my own. My stepson added his opinion and tried to help me make a decision.

I finally did make the decision not to go. I knew that because of his gentle nature Bill would have held me in his arms and told me not to go because of how difficult this us on me and this would upset me further. He would tell me the final decision would be mine.

I knew that this will be the final goodbye to my dear faithful husband and best friend’s 30-year marriage. Taking his body in the form of ashes and burying them next to his mother. Genesis 3:19  you will eat bread* until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken.+ For dust you are and to dust, you will return.”)  I could not say another goodbye to him; only memories of him are left in the people’s hearts and minds who knew and loved him. Nothing of him remains but he is in Jehovah’s memory.  My memories of him will always be of a soft-spoken, man with a gentle nature and a heart of gold who took care of me and loved me dearly and all of his family the same.

Bill didn’t trust people since he had been hurt many times, but he always ended up forgiving them but never told them that he was hurt by them. I loved him very much and will until I too only exist in the dust. You’d think that there would be no more to say after a person dies, but that is when the thoughts of him and the pain of losing him are still raw. Everyone feels that way when they lose someone. I try to remember only the good things, but the sad things intrude into those good things.

One of the sad things I remember is that the more weight he lost, the more his bulging discs hurt him. He hurt so much that even the morphine didn’t touch it. Then I try to ease that pain with the thought of how I cared for him at home for as long as I could. He was taken away from me and placed in the nursing home when the social worker told me I couldn’t take him home. She said that it takes two people around the clock to care for him at that stage and I couldn’t even take care of him now.

Oh, I did cry some but had much work to do. It’s strange, and I believe that it’s true for everyone. You don’t begin to truly let the death of a person feel real. So far everything has been surreal. That is until everyone has left. Then the loss of that person begins to sink in. I feel it sometimes, but not all at once.

I’ll start to say something and look at Bill’s empty chair before I remember that he is not there. The least of the emotions I feel is that his chair is empty and I stare at it for a few moments until I realize that he won’t be sitting in it anymore. The worst I feel is that he’s gone and he’ll never be home again. I can’t share the beautiful sunsets with him, or explore the woods and find a strange tree that grows thorns, a tree that has a huge middle and the rest of the tree is thin, or go for a walk hand in hand.

There is a side to this that I feel free of, and that is dealing with mom’s Alzheimer, and then Bill’s dementia. This is difficult to admit and not everyone can do that. I feel as if a hundred-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulder. I can sit and write and not have to worry about the needs of someone else. I can come and go as I please with no one to answer to. At least I can truly say that I have no feelings of regret. There was nothing left unsaid, and no doubts about the care I gave him and that he got at the nursing home.

Even when people do have feelings of guilt, there is nothing you probably could have done better or different from what you did. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. That does not make you a bad person or an inadequate caretaker. Today I feel okay, I’ve cried some, but that may never go away, and if I shed a few tears each day, even that is okay with me.

In closing the series of the Face of Dementia, I can honestly say that I know I’ve helped some people. One person told me that I should write my own story from how there was no love in our family and from a shy child who couldn’t talk above a whisper for fear she would be doing something wrong to the person I am today. She wanted me to tell how I changed into a confident adult who isn’t afraid to speak up. Maybe I will. I can’t tell you that series would be sullen, but when I look back, I have to laugh at myself for the things I believed to be true.

Well dear readers in closing, when I think of the comments and emails I got from readers who also were glad that I wrote what I was going through so they would know what to expect when their father or mother got to those stages.

Look for the series on my own life. I’m not sure that I have a title yet. I began as an ugly caterpillar and turned into a beautiful butterfly. When I learned to fly a remarkable thing happened.

Bill Tells All He Can

 

Bill talks as well as can be expected

 

In September, 2017

I’ve asked Bill what his world is like, because it could help other people who have loved ones with dementia. It may also help others who already have it what they could expect for themselves, and their loved ones.

Now, some may not go through the same steps in the same order, some may have none of the view of their unfortunate condition, but this may help everyone with dementia. His first answer was that it is none of their business; let them find out for themselves.

 

October, 2017

Bill had been declining on a regular basis. The time had come that he wanted to tell what was going on in his own mind. By then, he could mostly talk so that it was understandable but his sentences were still broken. He was always soft spoken and kind. Never would he get angry and push people away, never would he get angry or annoyed with me.

Since he has always had trouble finding the right words to describe how he is feeling, I thought that if I helped him find some words it might help him, he would be able to express himself.  Therefore, I asked him if the world looked normal to him

He said that it didn’t but he just didn’t know what he is supposed to do anymore. Bill also replied that he didn’t feel as if the world was normal, but I don’t know how to…. no words were able to get out after those words.  I then asked him if the world seemed upside down to him. He thought for a few minutes, looked at the floor, then at me and with tears in his eyes, his answer was yes, it kind of did seem upside down.  Once again, I asked him with tears in my eyes if the world made any sense to him at all. It took him a few minutes to answer that question too. …  His answer was that nothing made any sense to him any more.

Those were his answers. These remarks were made sporadically…. I don’t know what I am supposed to do. I asked if he wanted to go for a walk. He would always want to know where we going to walk to. I told him that it was just to the office and back. He would be okay. Today I asked Bill what his world feels like to him. At first, he said that it was none of their business. Then I asked him if his world seemed to be upside down and if it makes him feel lost. He finally answered that it was upside down and he didn’t know what he is supposed to do. I told him that I only could guess how that felt, but I thought that he was brave being in that kind of world and functioning anyway.

Continue reading Bill Tells All He Can

Remember

The word “Remember” can invoke many thoughts to each of us. You may even wonder where to begin. I’m sure that each of us could write a book on our own memories. I’m only thinking of the first thing that this precious word makes me want to write.

I remember the reason I fell in love with my husband. We lived in Colorado at the time and I remember the first conversation I heard him have with his mother. (His end of course.) The gentle tone in which he spoke to his mother reminded me how children are supposed to obey their parents. It made me remember that the reason we obey is because we love and respect them. He’d laugh each time she spoke of what “Muffin” (her dog and only companion) did that amused her that week. She talked about any visitors she had during the week. Bill listenened with interest and gentleness that I had not seen in a very long time.

He spoke with deep concern about how she was doing and what needed to be done to her house. It was older and was in need of much attention. Bill’s two brothers helped as much as they could. They talked for about an hour and sometimes longer. This impressed me as them having a close relationship. This might spark a flavor of “mama’s boy” to some, but he was no “mama’s boy.”

One brother lived in Germany at this time. He was in the army. He and his wife lived on the base for a while, and then moved off base. They flew home at least couple of times each year. At those times, they visited each of their parents and took care of the needs that were a little more expensive.

The other brother lived about an hour and a half away from her and visited as much as he could. He also did what he could to visit and if she needed shopping done, he would do it for her. He visited her on a regular basis. He was a policeman in that town he lived. From Fairbury to Grand Island was the shortest distance of the three brothers to their mother’s.

We lived in Denver, about a six hour drive, but Bill made that drive when he could, and did physical work on the house and the yard. When I began to go with him I would make meals for her. I’d put them in containers, and then in the freezer so she could just take out one for her, and heat it in the microwave. I also did housework for her that she was unable to do for herself. Their mom had arthritis, and was pretty well crippled with the disease.

For a year I listened to him call her every week without fail. He spoke to her in that same mild and caring tone each and every week. How could you not fall in love with a man such as this? He treated me with the same caring tone and respectful manner. The sincerity in his voice and mannerisms spoke volumes as to what kind of man Bill was.

As the year went along, I heard conversations with his two boys in California also. This was the same manner as he spoke with his mom. Those conversations didn’t last quite as long, but the attitude, love, and respect was shown to them as well.

What can I say? After a year, he asked me to marry him. We got married and here it is 28 years later. He still takes care of me in the way only a husband can take care of a wife; loving, caring, and sometimes even crying together. I still care for him as only a wife can; listening, laughing together, sharing a sunset, or even a simple meal are still pleasurable to us. We tolerate his dementia, and we tolerate my physical and emotional problems. We try to keep them in their place and go on enjoying the love and respect we have always had for each other.