Thursday, January 9, 2014


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.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

A serious ear infection kept me from seeing Bob for two weeks. I was frustrated as well as being sick. When I did finally get to see him he seemed a bit depressed but he knew who I was.

A few days later, on New Year’s Eve, I returned around 5 p.m. to a completely different Bob. I now think he wasn’t depressed at all but just tired.  He was fresh from a bath and very chatty, in fact, so chatty it surprised me because he usually has little to say and we often sit in silence, just holding hands, communing on a different level.

He was animated and while I could understand little of what he was saying I caught a few refrains.  He said, “I’m carrying a knife, just in case.”.  I agreed it was probably a good idea.

I always agree with what ever he says because this keeps him happy and keeping an Alz person happy is important for their mood later.  My reality is not the slightest bit important. 

I also search my memory to see if I can make a connection with what he’s saying and something in his past, like the knife - he had a hunting knife most of his life which came in handy for cutting bread and cheese at picnics or cutting string or just about anything. I still have that knife safely in it’s leather sheath in a rarely opened cupboard. When I come upon it, it brings the old Bob back to me for a few moments.  When I can make these connections it gives me a deeper way to communicate with him.

After more ramblings he said, “I’m moving my stuff.”  I asked, “Oh are you doing it slowly or all at once?”  Again I couldn’t understand his answer but it gave a feeling that I was there with him and supporting him.

Sadly the only other thing he said I could understand was, “I don’t see you very often.” This always stops me in my tracks. What do I say? It makes me initially feel guilty that I’m not with him more often but then I realize this is Bob’s reality and he will forget this thought in a few seconds. I smiled directly at him, patted his hand, kissed his forehead.  He was OK.

I left with my usual excuse that I had an appointment to do computer work. He’s familiar with this statement and doesn’t hang on.  I have work to do and work was very important to Bob - an acceptable leave taking.

Of course we have no idea what this New Year will bring.  I’m floating on acceptance of ‘what is, is’ right now. I sometimes wish I’d gotten to this place sooner in the Alz journey.  It would have been so much easier on both of us.

May 2014 bring you Peace, Love, and Acceptance.