I received an e-mail from an old friend we haven’t seen in years. She knew Bob before I did. It turns out she reads Alz World and finds solace in it as she cares for her mother with Alzheimer’s.
She wrote: I don't know if you ever heard the story about the time Bob gave me a ride down to Southern California. We’d met through mutual friends. Bob was going south to visit his family and I had a couple days off school so he gave me a ride down and back so I could have a quick visit too.
During the drive we talked about how much we missed the ocean. When we got near Long Beach we could smell the salt air. Bob looked at me and said, “Detour?” I agreed and off we went to the beach! It was a race to the water, fully clothed. What a blast!
|Cinque Terre 1984
One of the joys of Bob was that he knew the value of being spontaneous! Well, we dried off a bit and drove to my Mom's house. He came up to the door as I wanted Mom to meet him. When Mom opened the door, she cracked up at the two wet people standing in front of her, then as I introduced Bob, she interrupted me with something like: Bob? Bob Behrens!!! They had met years ago in the decorating business. Small world, huh? Good memories keep my spirits up when the "today" of it all nearly brings me to my knees.
Stories like this bring Bob back to me in a visceral way. Sometimes I forget who he was because he’s been in Alz World for so long. We had a great run together, a great relationship and I need to keep that memory alive for me.
I accept who he has become and I don’t even wish it could be different. (Perhaps this is my psyche's way of protecting me.) And at the same time I want to keep the memories alive. He inspired me and still inspires me, only now to keep as good care of him as I can.