Sunday, April 2, 2017

Currently, I have few words....

Its been nearly a month since I posted my last blog.  Many people have inquired about my whereabouts and what I have been doing.  Frankly, I don't really know what to say these days.

I went away to Mexico for a week by myself.  The week before I went I visited Gary at his memory care unit.  I no longer call it "The Happy Place" like I did when he first moved there.  Then, we still had smiles and happiness.  That no longer exists.

That Sunday, I went to trim his fingernails and trim his beard.  I accidently cut the skin on the end of the thumb.  As it bled profusely he showed only shaking as a reflex.  No ouch, no finger in the mouth, no nothing.  He didn't even pull away.  That lack of response saddened me.  I know in my heart that he did not know me that day nor care.

I stayed a short while and took off to pursue adventure on my first vacation alone.  The last time I was in Cancun, Gary was with me and even then, starting to show signs of FTD.  Many of his misspoken feelings, inappropriate interactions and forgetfulness were apparent then.  As I visited different parts of the resort and Cancun, those unpleasant memories that I thought were so deeply buried returned to my memory.  It is so sad and such a shame that such a brilliant light and mind is being extinguished by this horrible disease. 

I met several couples with whom I had dinner and talked with by the pool.  The typical question was "Where is your husband?"  Then I would give a brief synopsis.  Some cared, others could not relate.  I felt no guilt for being there and relished in the praise I received and gave myself for starting to live again.

When I returned to the Memory Unit last Sunday, I held his hand and for a faint moment he recognized that he knew me.  I doubt if he knew I am his wife. I could not emotionally stay very long...maybe 20 minutes.  I had to move on about my day as I was leaving Monday for a conference in Sacramento.

I celebrated my 54th birthday with old friends from Rancho Cordova where Gary and I lived for 8 years prior to moving to Anaheim in 2015.  It was wonderful to feel that kind of love.

On Wednesday morning, I totaled my BMW X3.  Some items from my front seat flew into the floorboard when I was spooked by a shadow, animal or something.  I attempted to retrieve the items from the floorboard and took my eyes off the road.  I hit the curb, over steered and knocked out an Anaheim lamp post head on into the cement.  A 40 pound lamp fell off the pole and crashed through my sunroof missing me by inches.  I walked away with only some bruises and scratches.  God is always Good but he was extra vigilant that day.

After realizing I was okay, I asked for my phone.  I wanted so desperately to talk to Gary.  In the old days, he would have been by guiding light, rescuer and comforter.  Instead, I called his daughter Heather and she rushed to my side. Her caretaking skills and love for me were exceptional.  I will never be able to express to her how much that meant in those crisis minutes.

God's grace continues to cover me with protection.

On Saturday night, I joined a friend at an acoustic Vince Gill concert.  I knew he would sing "Go Rest High on that Mountain" which is a mournful, beautiful tribute to a dead loved one.  I did not make it through the song without grief tears streaming down my face.  Tears for my Dad and Sister who died last month and for the death to come of my husband. 

After church today, I visited Gary.  He was particularly out of it and leaning over in his chair like he often does now.  I tried to comb his disheveled hair to no avail.  He would not look at me nor acknowledge my presence.  He stares at the wall. 

His hand is swollen again.  A recent x-ray showed no fracture nor broken bone.  I requested the doctor to examine it again as it looks painful even though he shows no reaction when its manipulated. 

I looked at him sitting in that chair and staring out into space.  It did not break my heart any further than it has already.  I felt a different sense of "alone".  He is just not there anymore. He is alone in his shell of a body and I am alone in our marriage.

A good friend asked, "Why do you still go if he is so gone?  Its so hard on you, Ada."  My answer now to that question is:  "I feel obligated."  That is a horrible place to be but it is true.

We do not know when Gary will die.  It won't be long, we know that fact.  I hope his trip to Heaven will be easy for him because he will be leav ing the FTD hell here on Earth.  God bless him.


  1. The accident must have been a very frightening experience on top of everything else you are going through. So glad that you were not seriously injured. God bless both of you.

  2. Thank you, Ada. For sharing your story. I can relate as a daughter of my mom who's in the last stage of FTD, and step-daughter of her husband who's always been there for her. Thank you for keeping and sharing a positive mindset on some of your experiences, like about Gary's daughter being there for you. I admit that many times I hurt more for my mom's husband because of how much he hurts missing the person my mother was. But he also inspires me to be a better daughter for her, and for him (even if we're not related by blood). I'm glad that Heather can be there for you. And I'm glad you did reach out to her and that you came out okay from the car accident. Thank you again for sharing your intimate and difficult experiences, helping some of us see that we're not alone in this pain; and that we can all continue relying on a support group (even if small) to help us be resilient through it all. Much love to you, Gary and Heather <3