An old song played today on the radio that I recognized but, as I listened to the words, I felt extremely sad. The second verse of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s song, Alone Again Naturally...for the first time, had so much more meaning to me at this point in my life:
To think that only yesterday
I was cheerful, bright and gay
Looking forward to well wouldn’t do
The role I was about to play
But as if to knock me down
Reality came around
And without so much, as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces
Leaving me in doubt
Talk about God and His mercy
Or if He really does exist
Why did He desert me?
In my hour of need
I truly am indeed,
Alone again, naturally —
For those who are married to Alzheimer’s, this song has meaning…
Reality came around and cut me into little pieces. — That reality is Alzheimer’s.
Leaving me in doubt. — What’s next? Where is this going? For how long?
Talk about God and His Mercy. — Is there mercy in this? Ernie has been such a good man — does he deserve this? Do I?
Or if He does exist. —I do believe that God exists and my faith continues to guide me. The old saying goes that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle — this is a tough one at times!
Why did he desert me in my hour of need? —I don’t believe that God has deserted me but, I must admit that I feel my husband has deserted me due to A.D. and in my hour of need — my prime years of adulthood!
Alone again, naturally. — When it comes to having a marriage and a relationship, I am alone.
When I got divorced from my first husband many years ago, I was alone in the male-female relationship but able to step ahead into a new phase of my life as a single woman. Spouses also go through the trauma of losing their partner in death, and as lonesome as it may be, still have a chance to move ahead in life, as well.
When our partners have A.D., we are married but single. Although Ernie physically lives on, we are not together. I visit him at the facility often, take him out for lunch or dinner and for walks, and then return him back to his “home” full of his new friends and a loving nursing staff. I, in turn, come back to an empty house — what used to be our home.
We are in limbo. How awkward it is to be married but single! There is no word to really describe this relationship. I refer to it as “a gray area” with no real definition. Limbo best describes it. And we don’t know how long “being in limbo” will remain. There is no way to diagnose the length of Alzheimer’s Disease and forecast the future for “us.”
And so, I am married but single. I miss all the good things we used to have: romance; traveling with my man; dancing;, snuggling in front of a good movie; dinners together; drinking coffee every morning; discussions, arguments, and so much more! Even if he was still living here at home, the disease has taken all that away.
How can we deal with this?
I am determined to not play a victim role, I am a survivor! Today, I look for moments of connection from him during our togetherness on my visits: his recognition of me; a squeeze of my hand, a tear in his eye telling me that he loves me; a laugh or a smile and still saying my name. Those moments still exist and for that, I am so thankful. That constitutes our relationship and our marriage today. I don’t know when/if these moments will disappear as this greedy “A.D.Monster” continues to take away his brain. But I am thankful for what we have for this moment.
So, in reality, I am alone again, naturally— doing what I can to make the best of something that no doctor, researcher or friend can really define or understand. I have my partner physically here to hug and touch and show my love to and I continue to look for the connections that we still have on this plane. That is all we can do.
I hope this helps others who are, because of Alzheimer’s, alone or, better put, in limbo, naturally.