After lunch yesterday, Kate and I spent almost three hours relaxing in our family room. It was a cool overcast day, and I made our first fire of the year. I don’t think we had more than one or two all last winter. I put on some music and began my previous post while Kate worked on her iPad. After two hours, she rested on the sofa though she didn’t go to sleep.
When she got up, we talked about going for an early dinner and how pleasant the afternoon had been. We also talked about all the good times we have had. As so often happens, she then asked my name and our relationship. Once again, she was surprised that we were married.
We talked a little more and then started to walk toward the garage. She stopped and with a puzzled look on her face, she said, “I don’t even know who I am.” I told her I could help her and picked up her “Big Sister Album” that her brother Ken had made for her. I showed her one of her baby pictures and her name. Then I turned to a page with our wedding photos and read the accompanying information to her. She was delighted and wanted to take the album to dinner with us. I suggested we leave it at home and go through it later. When we got home after dinner, she wanted to wait until today.
On the way home, she expressed her confidence in my driving and thanked me for taking such good care of her. I told her that I do it because I love her. I should say that I not only do things to care for her, but I have paid particular attention to cultivating a relationship of trust. I tell her I love her far more than I ever did before Alzheimer’s or even the early years after her diagnosis. I put an emphasis on this about two or three years ago. Prior to that we light-heartedly joked with each other. She was never one to joke, and over time, her jokes began to sound like more serious charges about my trying to control her life. When I noticed that, I backed away from almost all joking with her and adopted the approach of a more loving partner in her journey. I think that has paid dividends as she has become more dependent on me. She still talks about my trying to control more than she would like. She did that last night, but she also is able to say that she knows I do that with good intentions. I sense that she recognizes my desire to help her no matter what happens. I believe that is reflected in her expressions of appreciation that are becoming more frequent. For quite some time, I have said that we are a team and that we face everything together. Sometimes she uses that term when we work together on something. For example, last night I gave her my hand as she got out of the car. When she got up, I said, “You did it.” She said, “We did it. We’re a team.” She occasionally says something similar when I help her get dressed.
As we walked in the house after dinner, she asked what she could do. I told her I would see if there were something on TV that he might enjoy. I also mentioned that she could work puzzles on her iPad. She liked the idea of puzzles. She worked happily until I told her it was time for us to go to bed.