I was near Bob’s house after a dental appointment so I dropped in. He was asleep as he often is at 11 am. It seems he eats breakfast and then dozes for a couple of hours. I wiped a glob of strawberry jam off his pants.
Sitting up on his bed, stretched out along side him, I touched his arm with one hand and laid the other on the center of his chest. I breathed in emptiness without thought, without desire for outcome, and exhaled unconditional love for him. It was a peaceful meditation.
He snored and snorted, wiggled toes and fingers, but was so deeply asleep that when his eyes popped opened he didn’t see me. I sensed on some level he knew I was there and that we could just be in silence together - me awake and he asleep - it didn’t matter. What mattered was our connection.
|Communicating Through Dance|
When he was still living with me but already deeply into Alzheimer's, we connected best when we danced. Communicating with language had already been dismantled by the disease but when we danced our hearts united. So sitting with Bob while he slept and feeling our connection was natural to me.
At one point he had a nightmare and was reaching out trying to grab something. Moaning, he woke and said, “It’s terrible! Terrible!” I rubbed his chest and said, “The terribles are gone now. I’m here.” “You are?” he asked, smiling at me and went right back to sleep.
It’s amazing to me that Bob still recognizes me. I haven’t become a stranger after thirteen years in Alz World, as so many others have. I feel such gratitude for this small miracle. And if a time comes when he doesn’t know me I’ll still feel we are connected and that my presence is important to him even if he can’t consciously acknowledge it. When I go to visit him I remind myself: this isn’t about me, it’s about him.
I stayed with Bob for about 40 minutes just sharing space. Then I tiptoed out and went back to work. This meeting in silence was as satisfying as any with conversation. I felt settled for the rest of the day.