Granddaughter Liz, following her yachting experience as a crew member, is taking time to really see the world by living abroad for a while.  An exciting time for her.  Presently, she resides in Montenegro in a small apartment all her own.  She keeps in touch with family and friends through the internet, especially Facebook.  Liz is also a budding writer.

Recently she posted a question asking, “What’s it like to be in love.”  Talk about opening Pandora’s Box – but instead of problems pouring forth to trouble mankind butterflies of vibrantly colored messages soon filled an almost endless column of wonderful responses – and wise – all about love.   Amazing how pushing a certain “button” in people can open the floodgates of thought.  Facebookers not only wrote about what it’s like to be in love, they mentioned the many facets of love, the different kinds of love, degrees of love, receiving and giving love, the highs and lows of love, the ecstasy and agony – with one referring to love as positive rage – and they even touched on the ultimate:  God’s love.

Possibly believing that their friend had met some wonderfully handsome, dark eyed and brooding foreigner her friends might have been giving her their very best advice, as were her mother and I. Yet, we stood our distance – no personal questions.  Near the end of everyone’s comments Liz interjected, “This, by the way, is for a book I’m working on.  Thanks everyone for your posts.”

Grateful that my granddaughter, on the other side of the world, is still thinking clearly I went about the day’s business.

The long list of “Honey do” chores which I now do or assign to a handyman still plague my daily life.  Home and rental maintenance is a constant.   Today, I decided to sand some drawers which had been waiting for the final touches for years. With the weather mild I chose to work in the backyard.  The drawers were one of those things my procrastinating husband had put off without realizing how precious little time he had left to be my “Honey Doer.”  Alzheimer’s does that.  It would seem that even I didn’t fully grasp how the disease quickly robs the victims of just about everything they knew and understood: relationships, years of acquired knowledge, skills, talents and even love.  That’s the hard one for me to accept:  love.

Does he love me?  And at times I wonder if I love him even though I am duty bound?  I know I am devoted to the man.  On the other hand there are times when I am afraid of him.  His strength is still amazing and when he is angry I try to stay out of what could be harm’s way as he can become combative.  Nevertheless, I truly care about him and I’m constantly concerned about his health and well being. Fearful that he might fall and seriously hurt himself, Ben, David or I watch his every move. Each night before I go to bed I check him, as I did our children, making sure he is safely in bed, covered, seeing that all is well before I retire.  The thought of placing Ken in a full-care facility rips my heart out, and if he passes on before I leave Planet Earth I know my loneliness will be beyond measure. Does all of this add up to love?

Working on my project my back was to the house.  Ken was inside with Ben content to sit and rest as he does most of the time.  However, this afternoon he must have noticed me doing something out of doors.  Did he know it was me or did he presume I was an intruder on his property?  I was unaware of even the door opening.  Suddenly I heard, “Boo.”  My first though was that we had unexpected company yet I recognized the voice as that of my husband.   “Boo?”   Turning, I saw that it was Ken and he was smiling.  His eyes were bright as he continued to recognize me.   Apparently, he had known that I was the one working outside, and came out to surprise me with a gentle “Boo” to get my attention.

It was as if years had been swept away.  I said, “Hi Honey,” the same way I would have greeted him long ago when he came home from work and found me immersed in a project.  He leaned over and I gave him a welcoming kiss as I had always done in the past.  I almost expected my husband to ask, “What’s for dinner?”  He didn’t, but he did continue to talk about his day — as if he really had one. However, he made no sense, but it was the way he continued to talk – as if the scene was taken from yesteryear.  During those moments my heart jumped, and I was filled with love for the man I had married: my husband who was standing with me as the sun began to dip.  What I felt wasn’t the love/devotion of a care-giving spouse, but the love of a long-married wife — love — like a comfortable pair of old, favorite shoes — soft and warm.  The moments didn’t last long before Ken complained of being cold, and we all went back into the house where he sat down — soon drifting back into the fog.

Fragments of time such as this still make me wonder about the disease, and I’m sure I sound like a broken record as the thought surfaces over and over again in my mind.  Is memory destroyed because of the plaque, or is it so buried under all of that gook it can’t come forth except at certain times when the fog seems to momentarily lift?  If it is destroyed then why does he, at times, get these sudden bursts of remembering?  I have no answers, but whatever it is that allows me a glimpse of who Ken was, who we were as a couple is a gift, and I am reminded that, yes indeed, I do love this man.

Samuel Butler, a writer of long ago once wrote, “To live is to remember and to remember is to live.”  Today I am alive and I remembered love — so did Ken — if only for  a moment.

Originally posted 2010-11-07 04:10:23.

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