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.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Being Able to Remember

My days are fairly busy. After visiting Gregory almost every day for almost two years, my life away from him re-established itself.

I would spend an hour or two or three and then leave to continue my life.

I would go home, have dinner, watch some television, go to bed, read, cry, and think about him.

Or I would go out to dinner with friends, or go to the opera, or see some theater and then come home, go to bed, read, cry, and think about him.

Or I would run errands, clean up around the condo, go grocery shopping, cook dinner, take a shower, go to bed, read, cry, and think about him.

Or I would move things around in the condo, crate new spaces since I was the only one living here, make decisions on painting the walls with color in what has been an off-white condo, think about getting rid of the bedroom and guest room carpeting and having wood floors installed, go to bed, read, cry, and think about him.

Either way, I developed a life living on my own, without him except for those few hours almost every day.

Then one day, he died. It took four days, and although peaceful for him and traumatic for me, I have coped. I had prayed "Sooner rather than later!" And my prayers were answered. Now even those one, two, or three hours; almost every day, are mine to re-establish. 

Death makes no sense. When one looks at it closely, it fades into a surreal non-reality. After he died, my days were pretty much the same. Condo, Opera, Theater, Food, Friends, Read, go to bed, cry.

But the knowledge that he was no longer living at Lieberman crept in now and then and I would be overwhelmed with emotion. I felt like I would die myself if I gave in totally to the emotions so I only entertained them for brief periods of time.

I could not think of our times together and our memories as that would overwhelm me. I could not think of favorite jokes or sayings as that would overwhelm me. I could not picture him dead in his bed at Lieberman as I held his hand said my final goodbyes as that would overwhelm me. 

Slowly I have been able to remember. I have been able to look at photographs of our vacations and adventures. I could look at photos of him enjoying his diminished life at Lieberman as well as photos of us together enjoying our diminished life together.

Now, one short month and a half after his death, I am feeling much better although I have my "down" days, and still cry (sometimes when waking and sometimes when going to sleep) and expect that will continue for a long time to come. It may get less painful but the pain will never go away.

I get frightened when I think that he is never coming back and that I will be alone until I get old and die. I get frightened when I wonder who and what I will be in the years I have left. I think I hear him talking to me in my mind and I answer. I talk to him and I think he hears me talking in his now part of the universe mind. 

I continue to change the condo, I have been beginning to think of travels and things I would like to do with my life. 

I am excited about sharing the documentary with family and friends over the next months: ALZHEIMER's: A Love Story.

I am excited about the More Than Ever Education Fund and the meetings, and luncheons, and interviews, and fund raisers etc that Casa Norte is planning on behalf of the fund. The More Than Ever Education Fund, founded by Gregory L. Maire and Michael A. Horvich. That sounds great to me!

I am excited about beginning to work on my memoirs again and the potential of getting it published as a way to show others, especially same-sex couples, that they are not alone in this work against Dementia/Alzheimer's.

I am excited again about the possibility of producing and presenting "Michael's Flea Circus" with the actors, props, and circus acts in place and the program and acting needing to be rehearsed.

Recently I have begun reminding me of my prayers, "Sooner rather than later. " And I am grateful that Alzheimer's is no longer part of Gregory's or my "game."

I remind myself that the Gregory I met some 40+ years ago does in fact live on in my mind but the person who died was not that Gregory.

I remind myself that the Gregory with whom I spent most of my younger adult and middle age life, with whom I grew (with his support) into the person I am today does in fact live on in my mind but the person who died was not that Gregory.

I remind myself that the Gregory with whom I traveled the world, had many adventures, took many risks like "Michael's Museum," with whom I purchased my first and second houses and now this condo does live on in my mind but the person who died is not that Gregory.

So I am slowly being able to let the memories of our wonderful life together revisit me without being overwhelmed by emotion. I am able to understand that the Gregory who died had spent well, even with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, the last many years of his life and that his spirit and soul were never dampened. So with dignity, compassion, patience, and love he was ready to move on to his next adventure, the kind of adventure on which you cannot take your best friend, your love, your life partner, your soul mate. So he left me behind until it is my turn. 

And I will make the best of these years so he will be proud of me and say, "Michael, I helped you be more of who you already were and now you must continue to do that, not with my help but in my memory. You are on your own but I will always live on in your memories, in your mind, in your heart!

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