A Day of Surprises

Yesterday was a very good day for Kate, but I wasn’t sure when she woke up. About 8:30, I heard her say, “Hello.” <pause> “Hello.” Her voice was rather calm. When I reached her, she looked wide awake. I was about to give her a very lighthearted greeting when I noticed that she looked very concerned. I shifted gears to mirror her feelings. She told me she was glad to see me. I asked what I could do to help her.

That initiated a conversation that was a good thirty minutes long. She wanted to know if “they got it.” I never learned nor did she ever hint at what that was, but I told her “they did.” In most situations like this, that would be enough. This time she wanted to know how I knew “they got it.” One fib leads to another, and I told her I was there when they took it. Then she wanted to know who took it. I gave her the name of a friend of her mother’s. She didn’t remember the friend, and I had to give a little explanation.

That ended her questions momentarily. She said she was very relieved. She had forgotten to get someone to take it. I assured her it was taken care of and that she could relax. That didn’t end her concern. Several times, she asked me if I was sure it had been taken and who had taken it. When she was fully convinced that everything was all right, I took her to the bathroom to get ready for the day.

Although it was a very good day, much of the time she did not recognize me as her husband. The first sign of that came as we walked to the bathroom. She asked my name. I told her, and she expressed her appreciation to me for helping her. She went on to say that she liked me. Later, she asked my name again and then asked how she should address me. “Mr. Richard?”

It was still too early for lunch when she was dressed, so I prepared breakfast for her again. She was talkative, and we had a very pleasant time together. Afterward, I was prepared to sit down with her and look at a photo book or read something to her. I took her to the family room and then returned to the kitchen to get my coffee. She took that moment to pick up the Velveteen Rabbit. I assumed that I would read it to her; however, when I asked, she said she just wanted to look through it herself.

I had mixed emotions about her reaction. It was the first time she had ever declined my offer, and she never spends much time trying to read. I actually enjoy reading to her, but I also had other things to do. I decided it was good to let her read on her own and brought my laptop into the room to work on a slide show of photos I have created for our 57th wedding anniversary tomorrow.

I took a seat across from her and was prepared to stop at any moment to read to her. The big surprise was that she spent well over an hour with the book. Then she picked up a family photo book and began to read the text accompanying the photos. With both books, she meticulously moved her fingers from one word to the next. I felt two emotions, sadness that she had to work so hard and joy that she seemed to be deriving pleasure on her own. Several times I repeated my offer to help. She never accepted, but she did convey that she didn’t feel like she understood what she was reading.

She continued until Panera delivered our lunch. It arrived thirty minutes before the sitter was to come. I told her lunch was ready, but she wanted me to come to her. She was looking at the flowers and photos in the room as well as the back yard and the forest of trees on our neighbor’s property behind our house. This is not unusual, but she took far more time to look and express her feelings about the beauty she saw. As always, I took pleasure in seeing her so enthusiastic. I reminded her several times that I had her lunch on the table, but she didn’t get to the table until the sitter arrived.

We took another thirty minutes to eat our lunch when I took her to the family room. I felt like it would be too abrupt to rush away immediately. Sometimes I sit down with her to look at one of her photo books. She gets tired quickly and wants to rest. That is what I expected again. I handed her one of the books, and she immediately started going through it on her own. When I told her I needed to run a few errands and would return, she looked sad but didn’t protest or ask to go with me.

The next surprise came when I returned almost an hour later. She was seated in the same place looking at the same book. She looked content, so I didn’t even go into the family room. I made a couple of phone calls and worked on the computer.

At 4:00, I heard her ask Mary where I was and when I would be back. Mary told her I was home and working in the kitchen. In a couple of minutes, she walked into the kitchen. She was glad to see me and said that she was ready to go. I told her there were a few things I wanted to finish before then and to give me a few minutes. Less than five minutes later, she returned with a copy of The Giving Tree, Winnie the Pooh, and her iPad. She wanted to know if I was ready. I told her I was. It was almost 4:15, but I went to the family room and told Mary that she could go. Then Kate and I went to the car along with the things she had been carrying.

I had ordered dinner from a caterer earlier in the week and was scheduled to pick it up at 5:00. It’s about fifteen minutes from our house. That gave me more than enough time, so I drove around until going to her place for our dinner.

As soon as we entered the house, she responded as though it was the first time here. We walked into the kitchen where I started to get the food on the table. She commented that this was the first time she had been here and admired everything she saw.

The next surprise came after dinner. We were walking to the back of the house when she said, “I just want to thank you and your people for everything you have done.” She continued to express her appreciation for several minutes . What I surmised was that she thought she was in some type of lodging, and I was the proprietor with a staff to take care of the guests.

As I helped her get ready for bed, she came back to this topic. She thanked me again and talked a little longer. This was another surprise. She often talks about her working with a program of some type that helps people with education, job skills, and/or financial aid. This time she thought I was directing such a program in which I operated a place for guests to stay and employed people to help them financially and with job skills.

The last surprise came after I got in bed two hours after she did. She hadn’t been asleep at all. That surprised me because she had talked about going to be early when we were driving around before dinner, at dinner, and afterwards. Not only that, but she had gotten up somewhat early and not rested at all during the entire day. After I got in bed, she said, “What do we do now?” I told her it would be a good time to relax and go to sleep. She said, “Good.”

She is still sleeping at 10:15. That’s no surprise. I wonder what is in store today.

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