Tag Archives: alone

In Limbo, naturally…

6 Jul

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.

 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. — The role in my relationship with my partner has completely changed — very little cheerful, bright and gay to look forward to….

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.

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Stand By Me

1 Apr

I know that most of my friends have tried to stand by me through the challenging experience with my husband’s Alzheimer’s and I appreciate it.  However, no friend can really understand unless he/she walks the same path.  The greatest gift of friendship for me, at a time I really needed it, came from my attending an A.D. support group in 2010…

My life was off-balance as I felt so alone in my relationship with Ernie and his Alzheimer’s.  Reluctantly, I signed us up for a support group that included both the care giver and the family member with A.D.  It was there that I met Linda.  Although we had different backgrounds, we were both the same age, shared similar careers, and found ourselves at the same stages of acceptance of our husbands’ Alzheimer’s disease.  Little did I know that she would become one of my very closest of friends and confidants!

Her husband, although younger than mine, had been successful and extremely respected in his career, as was Ernie.  Both of the men were at similar stages of the disease and became buddies from the start.  Linda and I arranged the first social get together, as a foursome, for dinner.   Through the next year, we planned meals, movies, concerts, local theatre and events, and weekend trips and vacations together — all four of us.   Ernie and Alan had their relationship, while Linda and I had our friendship with full understanding of each others’  challenges.  We talked daily by phone, supporting each other through all the ups and downs of our lives.  Together, we made it our goal to learn more about Alzheimer’s. We researched, attended programs, visited senior  and assisted living centers, and looked for the best care solutions for our husbands and ourselves going forward. We wanted to give Ernie and Alan the most happiness we could and, at the same time, make life more bearable for ourselves.

Through Linda’s friendship, I have found myself feeling more balanced in my stance —  I don’t know what I would have done without her.

My advice to other care partners:  Attend support groups.  Find support from someone who walks the same path.    Having a friendship through true understanding, will allow each of you to stand together and feel more grounded.