Although Kate is generally happy, her mood varies more at this stage of her Alzheimer’s than it has in the past. Sometimes, like Monday, she’s in an especially good mood. I treasure those moments as a gift from her.
She was awake before 7:00 that day and remained awake until going to bed that night. I took a short break for breakfast, but I didn’t take my morning walk, check email, or read the paper. I was engrossed by her happiness and wanted to enjoy every minute of it.
After her morning meds and something to eat, I got in bed beside her and turned on a mix of YouTube videos of highlights from concerts by Andre Rieu, his orchestra, singers, and dancers. Watching videos like this has been the centerpiece of our evening activity following dinner for at least the past five years.
During the past year or so, she’s been much less attentive to the videos themselves but continued to enjoy the music. I attribute this to the difficulty she has in knowing where to focus her eyes. She has the same problem when I show her pictures in an album or on the TV. Several times lately, I’ve been encouraged when I played YouTube videos of puppies doing cute things and discovered that they caught her attention at least for a moment. On Monday, as we watched together, she was engaged with both the music and the videos themselves. More than that, she was enthusiastic and expressed her pleasure repeatedly for almost three hours until the caregiver arrived, and I went to my Rotary meeting.
I was especially pleased that our son, Kevin, was with us and got to partake of most of the morning. He came for a visit last Thursday. The visit itself was special in that Kate’s brother, Ken, and his wife, Virginia, as well as our daughter, Jesse, were also with us. I was somewhat like a parent during this time, hoping that all of them would get a good understanding of how Kate is doing and why I say that we continue to enjoy life and each other. I am satisfied they did.
Monday morning stands out, but there were other moments over the weekend that were also special. Among them was a moment when I read Kate a resolution that our church had adopted in recognition of her service as the church librarian for 19 years. It’s been years since she has been able to remember this. When I remind her of her service, she usually recalls it with pride. It pleased her to hear me read this gift of appreciation from the church.
On Sunday, Jesse had a her own special moment when she got in bed with Kate and took a video of a brief conversation between the two of them. It was as special for her as Monday’s experience was for me.
Sunday afternoon, Kate and I shared another special moment when I handed her a stuffed bear that Ken’s wife had made for her. She didn’t say a word; they weren’t needed. She held the bear tightly in her arms and against her face for a full 15-20 minutes. It was a touching moment that I was able to capture on video.
The past few days with family went very well. Every one of us clearly recognized Kate’s decline, but we were all able to accept her as she is and convey our love for her. I think she would say that was the most special gift we could offer.