Sunday, April 9, 2017

"No, Shrimp!"

To the best of my recollection, since Gary moved into Memory Care in June of 2016, I have not cried one time while there.  Much less, in front of him.

During my last visit, I was particularly emotional.  When I entered the unit, one of the caregivers looked at me with a rather peculiar expression and said, "Wow, your timing is good.  Gary just had a full bowel movement and he is all clean!"  Great.  Just what I wanted to hear.  I responded, " Great, thanks."  I was on the verge of tears but kept moving. 

As I entered the Dining Room, Gary was sitting with the usual suspects, Nancy and Martee.  I said hello to everyone and kissed Gary.  He puckered.  I am convinced it was a lifelong reflex, not an acknowledgement of me.  They were about to serve the food.  I planned it that way.  I can get there at 5, feed him and get out quickly without too much interaction with the people who ask "where have you been?"

An angel asked "Would Gary rather have Taquitos or Shrimp?"  I thought about his previous desires and said, "I think he would want Taquitos." Completely out of character, he turned his head, looked at me and corrected me.  He said, "No, Shrimp."  I was flabbergasted that he expressed a desire.  The girl said, "Did he just say that?"  I responded, "Please bring him shrimp." 

While we were feeding him, I started talking to him about normal things.  I let a tear slip from my eye and when I realized it, I got very choked up and started to cry.  I looked at him and he also let a tear leave his eye.  I asked him not to cry that I couldn't handle it.  He stopped crying and went back to eating. 

Just as quickly as he snapped out of his dementia, he snapped back into it.  I fed him his meal and moved into his room for clipping of facial hair.  He seemed a little aware of me and touched me on my arm at one point.  It was a human reaction, not that of husband and wife.  It was discouraging.

So, everyday I grapple with moving on to life without him.  It gets easier and easier.  Some days its hard.  I have accepted that I will never again have a conversation with him.  I will never get advice or hear sweet nothings from him.  That part of our relationship is very dead.  I mourn yet, I am celebrating what was.  

There is hope.  


  1. Ada, I tried to cmmment a few days ago but could not publish. I'll try again -- my dear friend Yvonne Jones and I were so surprised to learn you were in Sacramento very recently, especially that you have lived in Rancho Cordova! I have lived in Rancho since 1967, and Yvonne lives in nearby Roseville. If you ever return to Sacramento, we would be so happy to meet you and share a few stories and warm hugs! So sorry about your beautiful car, but God was looking after you and kept you safe.

    1. I loved Rancho... worked there for 7 years and served on the Chamber of commerce Board of Directors.

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