PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Seven Days or a Week

It has been seven days since I was with Gregory. Six days in California and one day regrouping at home in Evanston. I took the extra day not only to regroup, unpack, and chill but also I was aware of some avoidance going on.

I was afraid to see Gregory, wondering how I would feel and wondering how he would react. Would he have missed me? Would he remember me? Now that the documentary "hoop-la" was over, how would it feel returning to my day to day and my visits to Lieberman.

When I turned the corner of the hall towards Gregory's room, he and Manny were sitting in front of the balcony doors, looking outside and singing. I just stood there and didn't say anything. Manny notice me and moved away from Gregory. Gregory kept singing.

I moved more in front of Gregory, put my hand on his knee, and smiled big. I still hadn't said anything. Gregory kept singing.

Finally I said, "Hello my love!" Gregory looked at me with a blank look on his face. "I love you!" Gregory's face changed to his 'oh I have a visitor look.' "I am back and here to visit you. Did you miss me?" Gregory's face slowly, ever so slowly, began to register and process who I was.

"Oh my. It's you," he mumbled through tears and swelling emotion. He began to sob and I leaned in, hugged and held him. I slowly backed away but he held tight and said, "Stay, stay." And I did.

For the next fifteen minutes or so, as I talked and as he mumbled, he went back and forth between laughing, and delight, and tears, and being overwhelmed.

I agreed that it had been along time since I had visited and I apologized explaining where I had been and said I would try not to do that again. Perhaps my part of the conversation was more for my benefit than his.

At one point he leaned forward, very strongly and emphatically pointed out the window and said, "I want to go there!"

"You want to go outside?" I asked.


"OK, we can go outside if you would like." In my heart I heard him saying, "I want to go home. I am inside and I want to be outside." But who knows how accurate my heart is when it comes to interpreting Alzheimer's Speak.

Finally he calmed down and we just had a good visit, with souvenirs and drinks of water and mouthfuls of chocolate.

I took my leave to go to a meeting with our lawyer, telling Gregory I'd be right back in ten minutes and he let me go without a problem. When I returned he was back in his usual mode of welcoming me for a visit and the trauma of my week's absence seemed over.

So what happened? As best as I can tell, and based on feedback from Manny, Gregory did not miss me while I was gone but realized and experienced the emptiness of my having been gone when I returned. It took him longer to process my face, who I was, what I meant to him and like a developing photograph, the negative image slowly became a positive image.

He was more overwhelmed by the memory of my absence triggered by my return than he was by the actual absence. Either way, we are both happy that I am home and I eagerly look forward to seeing him again today and visiting with the rest of my Lieberman Family as well.

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