It seemed like she was there just yesterday, but this morning he couldn't find her. He came to my bedroom where I was still half asleep. He knocked and said, "are you in there?". I responded that I was.
He said, "I think I will go home now".
I replied, " You are at home."
He laughed and said, "ya, I know."
Since I was already awake, I decided to get up. I had been sleeping in since I've been working nights. I've been going in around 1130 AM and working until between 9 and 11 PM.
This morning was weird though. As I was coming out of the bedroom, I heard his SUV start in the garage and he left. I decided to start getting ready for work. I needed to iron a couple of shirts. I needed to shower and shave. Even red heads have shave a couple of times a week.
I thought maybe he had gone to the barber. He will do that in the morning. The dog was still in the house and that was a good indicator that he was on a mission of some sort. So, I proceeded with the shirt ironing, showering and shaving. While I was in the bathroom, I heard him come back. This was about an hour later. And then he left again. This time the dog was gone too.
As I finished getting my things together to go, I heard him pull into the garage again. I was on my way out to the garage to dump some garbage. I met him as he exited his vehicle. I said, "where did you go?"
He told me he could not remember where Laurie (Mom) went. He said he drove all over the east side looking for her....and then he remembered. She went home to be with Jesus. "I depended on her for so much", he said.
I was crushed by his statement. I hugged him. I was crying, but while he hugged back, I got the impression that he was totally unphased by his morning adventure. There was very little emotion on his face.
He let the dog out of the SUV. Apparently, when he came back the first time, he returned to take the dog to the dog groomer. It was not the day for that either. The groomer appointment is on Thursday at 9 AM.
So when he woke this morning, he must have been totally confused. I had been up at 4 AM to get him his pill container. It has three compartments with medicine that he takes throughout the day. He had already taken them all before he left to look for Mom.
Mom has been gone for over 4 years. I miss her every day for some very obvious reasons. Now Dad is finally admitting it. He's also forgetting that she is gone. I thought maybe something like this would happen one day. I had worried about what it would be like to explain it. This time he figured it out for himself. That's probably not going to happen the next time.
Alzheimer's is a dreadful disease. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose what was once firm knowledge or to forget who has passed and who has not or not even to know what day it is. But when you don't remember that your partner of 52 years is gone, I would think that would devastate when you suddenly remembered it. As I said, he was unphased. My thought is that memory is not the only thing that fails when Alzheimer's afflicts the brain. It effects emotions, appetite, bathroom habits and motor control. Alzheimer's is brain rot, short and simple.
We who help to care for Alzheimer's victims tend not to think about one other thing. Because the disease progresses so slowly, we do not think about it for what it is. It's a killer. Alzheimer's is always fatal. You don't get better. No one with Alzheimer's gets better. Even the meds designed to treat it stop working. It is a slow, but progressive journey to the grave. I cannot think of a more insidious way to die.
It is things like this that make me question God.
Lord, please take care of him today. Please join me and take some measure of responsibility for this. We both need you right now. Thanks.