Tag Archives: emotions

The Magnificent Kiss

21 Dec

Last night, I visited the Senior Facility and fed Ernie at the normal dinner hour of 5 PM.  As it had been for many weeks, his eyes remained closed and he took in spoonful bites, slowly chewed, and sipped on his juice as I held it up to his lips. He remained in his own world.  I found myself getting used to this response or lack of response.  There was no conversation back when I talk with him but a good feeling that he was getting nourishment as he continued to take in his solids and fluids.  I had become family with the staff and other residents as we sat together in the dining room and I was thankful for this time with Ernie and my “other family.”  The mood was always upbeat — no matter what the circumstance.

As I fed Ernie, I recalled the many dinners we had together over the years of our marriage and the interesting conversations that took place between us.  I valued his views on the many topics we discussed.  He taught me so much and opened my eyes to many things.  I had a flashback of one of the last meals we had while he was home. He held my hand, apologized for his disease and told me that he would always love me — even when he was gone.  We both cried together and then kissed. That memory was still fresh in my mind and I shared it with Ernie while I scooped up his dinner and patiently put it to his mouth.  He then finished his meal and restlessly pulled back from the table.  Dinner time was over.

The staff and I walked Ernie over to the sofa where we got him comfortably settled.  Sitting with him, my arm around his shoulders, it was his habit to fall into a comfortable nap at which time I would quietly leave for home.  To my surprise, instead, Ernie opened his beautiful blue eyes and looked directly into my eyes.  I took this moment to connect and told Ernie how much I loved him.  With that, Ernie reached up, grabbed the back of my neck, and pulled me in for a truly passionate kiss!  Whew!  It was a good, romantic kiss — just as it used to be!  My heart was pumping, I smiled, he smiled… and then the moment passed.  Ernie closed his eyes and off to sleep he went.

Out of the blue, here was another one of those surprises — a precious connecting moment.   But this time, it came with a magnificent kiss that will remain etched in my mind forever.  Once again, I give thanks.

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The Clock is Running Down

6 Jul

Oh, how I wish I could wind the clock and help it to keep ticking.  Unfortunately, this clock does not come with a key, weights to pull, pendulum to swing, or a battery to replace to bring it back to life.  This particular clock is running down fast.

I feel Ernie’s time is coming sooner than later.  Yesterday, I felt it more than I ever did.  The change in his health is significant and has come on so rapidly — just as the Care Managers warned.  I didn’t want to believe that this day would come, but it is upon us.  I saw it with my own eyes, felt it in my heart, and heard it from my inner voice.  I saw it in Ernie’s eyes and felt it in his actions, as well.  Now, more than ever, I realize that each ticking moment counts.

My Ernie looked much like a little wounded bird when I arrived.  I saw him standing with a hunched posture, looking extremely thin and  leaning against a door — gazing into the family room of the Memory Care unit.  It was as if he wasn’t sure where he was going, why he was standing there or how he got there.  But, blessed as we are, he knew me when I walked up and put my arm through his arm and lead him to a quiet place for the two of us to sit and be together.   He sat down in a comfortable chair as I sat facing him on the ottoman.   Ernie suddenly surprised me when he pulled my face into his hands and gave me a tender kiss. We held hands and he quietly mumbled some words to me.  He didn’t giggle or smile like he always did but he knew I was there with him.  He focused on me for short moments and then looked off into an unknown space.

I realized, at that moment, that my Ernie is tired — I don’t mean from his lack of sleep, either.  He is tired of fighting the terrible monster of Alzheimer’s Disease.   This was the first time I felt his readiness to give up the fight.  My courageous, strong, wise, yet Gentle Giant looked so frail, exhausted and lost.  I laid my head down on his knees and gently squeezed his hands while he drifted off to sleep. I was afraid to let go.   I quietly but deeply began to weep  with my head in his lap.  This cry was the deepest cry I have had in a long time. Although terribly sad,  I felt safe being next to him and I knew that he felt safe with me.  Ernie was always the rock of strength in our relationship.  Now, I am his rock.  These are our precious moments together and I feel blessed that, in this space of time, the chime is weaker but the clock is still ticking.

 It is so challenging  for me to see such a proud, dignified gentleman wind down.  And I know it is the way of things ahead — for as long as it is meant to be. I keep saying my prayer thanking God for yesterday and today and knowing that, together, He and I will deal with tomorrow when it comes.  I am not sure when Ernie’s pendulum will stop and his last chime will ring but I know I’ll be there the best I can for every last stroke.

“I’m happy, happy…”

25 Apr
Ernie and I were asked to be interviewed for both a radio and 
television program for NPR - WHYY in Philadelphia last week.  
I was willing to do the interview but wondered how Ernie would 
communicate under his Alzheimer's condition.  Would the mike 
or the camera scare him? What would he say?  How much would he 
understand about what was going on? Would he say something that
would be inappropriate?
I was pleasantly surprised to find how comfortable and 
confident he was! 
I am not sure he really understood what was going on, 
but he openly shared his 
comments and laughed, teared up, and several times 
reached across the camera to tap my nose in an affectionate way.  
This very dignified gentleman who had difficulties showing his 
emotions for so many years now proudly shared his feelings -- 
for all the world to see!
Ernie lives in the moment, appreciates the small things, 
doesn't sweat the "small stuff" and 
continues to say,  "I'm happy, happy."  
Isn't that something we all can learn from?

To listen to Maiken Scott's WHYY interview on aging, go to:
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/37466-
living-with-dementias-costs-financial-and-otherwise&Itemid=1