Last night I picked up an email from my friend Tom Robinson. He asked how I managed to remember the different experiences Kate and I have and especially the times they occur. In my reply, I confessed that I forget a lot. So much is happening now that it is impossible for me to remember everything. I really wish I could do a better job capturing our conversations. They would be much more effective in telling our story than my personal descriptions, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to remember such details. There are some occasions when I am able to write shortly after a particular incident. Such is the case right now.
It is now 8:19 Friday morning. I was up at 6:25 and had finished breakfast. It looked like this would be a morning when I would be able to walk and listen to my book. As I was preparing to do that at 7:50, I set the video cam on the island in the kitchen. When I did, I saw that Kate was about to sit up. When I reached her, she was sitting on the edge of the bed. She looked up at me and smiled. I told her it was good to see her and, especially, to see “that smile.”
As we walked to the bathroom, she said, “I sure am glad to see you.” Her tone of voice conveyed a sense of relief. It was clear that she was quite confused although she seemed to recognize me. As we returned to the bed, she repeated how glad she was to see me. She said, “What do I do now?” I told her it was still early, that I thought she should try to rest a little longer. As I pulled the covers over her, she said, “Where are we?” I told her we were in our house in Knoxville, Tennessee. We went through these same questions two or three times. Then I asked if she would like me to bring my things into the room and sit with her. She said, “Oh, yes.” That’s where I am and plan to stay until it she is asleep. Then I will slip back to the kitchen. In the meantime, I put on a Jason Tonioli album entitled Finding Peace. Most of the pieces are just piano and violin, and, as the title suggests, they are very peaceful. It is playing softly in the background. If it doesn’t help Kate get back to sleep, it may do it for me right here in my chair.
There is nothing special or particularly unusual about this experience. In that respect, it is a good one in that it captures a rather ordinary part of our lives. It’s not always like this. Sometimes she is much more disturbed by her confusion. Other times less so. It is unusual, however, for her to want me to stay with her. That is a sign of greater insecurity than most days.
There is something else about this morning that is typical. It is the way we relate to each other. She depends heavily on me and looks to me for guidance. This is true most of the time, and that makes caring for her much easier for me. It’s not always like that. There are times like two days ago when she wanted to be independent and resisted my help. That was a rough moment and only subsided when I let her take charge. That helped to re-balance the relationship. When she is on her own to dress, it isn’t long before she asks for my help. That works because I am following her rather than directing. In moments like this morning, she is ready to turn everything over to me. Making a decision about what to do can be a challenge when your mind is completely blank.
The last song on Tonioli’s album, Brahm’s Lullaby, is playing. Kate is now sound asleep. I think I’ll take my morning walk around the house (inside, of course) and listen to my book.