roll of toilet paper

Gifts of paper for the first anniversary. What else but  bathroom tissue?

January 21, 2013 – Monday:  School is out, no mail delivery and the banks are closed.  It’s a holiday, and much, much more:  Martin Luther King Day, Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., and most important of all, it’s Ken’s and my wedding anniversary.   In retrospect, there are more years than I care to count, and far too many years living with Alzheimer’s, but it’s our day and I remember it with fondness.

Earlier this morning, thinking of it as just another Monday, I put a few letters at the box for the mailman to pick up. Several hours later I remembered it was a holiday and brought them back into the house.  Furthermore, there was no need to drive to the bank.  Meanwhile, they were celebrating in our nation’s capital, and I found myself thoughtful about it being the 21st, reminiscing about Ken and me, our life together before Alzheimer’s, and our very first anniversary. 


In mid-January Ken’s sister Loretta dropped by to congratulate us on making it through the first year.  I was resting on the couch feeling tired and just a tad out of sorts. Under her arm she carried a bulky, gift-wrapped package. How nice of her to remember I thought as she handed me the present.  I gushed a bit, “You’re so thoughtful….Ahhhh…….You shouldn’t have…..,” while pulling at the ribbon.  Loretta snickered, her eyes twinkling with mischief, and then as the paper tore away she laughed outright.  A four-pack of bathroom tissue came into view. “Paper for your first,” she giggled.  Ken and I laughed with her.  “Just what we needed,” I added, “seriously.”


“Where would you like to go,” asked my husband of one year.  “We can go to either Grison’s Steak House or Grison’s Chicken House.”  “Wow,” I said, “I get to choose between two of the best places in San Francisco, “Let’s go to The Chicken House.”

Both of us were dressed for a night on the town that 21st of January.  Umbrella in hand, overnight case in the car, we left the first-floor flat and headed our small car downtown toward Van Ness Avenue.  It didn’t matter that it was raining; we were in love and celebrating one whole year of wedded bliss.

“We have reservations,” Ken informed the maître d’ who showed us to our candle-lit table.  It was all going to be such a perfect night.

I don’t recall what we ordered, other than chicken, but suddenly the aromas coming from the kitchen made me nauseous.  By the time dinner was served even the look of our fabulous meal made me ill.  Yet I tried, poking at my buttered baked potato I was sure I could at least manage that.

“You don’t look well,” said Ken.

“I’m not.  The nausea is back, but I don’t want to ruin our night.”

“Shall we go,” he questioned?

“No, you finish your dinner.  Then we’ll go.”

Enjoying every bite of his chocolate cake Ken hesitantly asked, “I don’t suppose you’ll be wanting to spend the night at that quaint little place in San Rafael?”

“I’m sorry.  I just want to go home, throw up and go to bed,” was my answer to his romantically planned evening.


On the 21st day of August our first born, Deborah Jeanne, arrived to make us a threesome.  As the years and anniversaries flew by we added four more babies to our family: two girls and three boys in all who, in turn, have expanded our clan well into the double digits.

In spite of his Alzheimer’s, I am grateful for all of the good years Ken and I have had together.  I’m grateful for the bumpy, pot-holed roads of life which taught us about life, and the yin-yang of family teaching us that despite them being ours they are, first and foremost, their own persons finding their way on those same, but different, roads which will, eventually, take all of us to our eternal home.  I’m grateful for those later years, when family had grown and before AD, where we rediscovered the two of us and recaptured the romance and solidarity of marriage as a mature couple sharing life on the other side of 50, and yes, with love which just got better.

Tonight as I pulled the covers up over my husband, marking sure he was cozy and warm, before kissing him goodnight and whispering, “Happy Anniversary,” he began to mumble saying how much he loved her and smiled.  I believe it’s safe to assume that “her” meant his wife — me: another “floating fragment” of memory which always lifts my heart and mists my eyes as we continue on and into this battle of “Alzheimer’s 24-7.”

Originally posted 2013-01-26 07:04:54.


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  • Amy says:

    Sister R,

    I’m glad that you have so many wonderful memories of your life together.

    Hang on – this too “shall be but a small moment” and if you endure it well, God will straighten it all out again. (Easy for me to say, I know, but I’m doing my OWN “hanging on” in my own life. 3 years of age is turning out not to be my favorite year for a kid…)

    You and your husband are both greatly loved – by a lot of people – including me. I’ll include you both in my prayers. Hang on.

    Amy T.

    • aromick says:

      Thank you Amy. And I know about 3 years olds. Adorable, but minds of our own, and believe it or not, these years of “family” are the very best of your life. So, rest when she rests and enjoy each of her growing, resisting, running, rebelling, and very complex life. And play with her. My son and wife are raising an only child. Harder than having several. You have to be their playmate. Best friends now, best friends later. Thanks for sending. We are hanging in there.

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