I have been carping a bit lately about the tensions, anxiety and frustrations of being an Alzheimer’s spouse/caregiver.
But today I want to crow about the upside.
Today Ralph is my HERO.
A specific moment of heroism: At the crack of dawn this morning, my walking buddy and her husband came by to go blackberry picking out at our big stand of blackberries in a field that’s a good long walk from the house. Ralph was still asleep. Although he had reluctantly come out to pick a few days earlier, I let him sleep in this time. My friends and I picked a couple of baskets worth of berries before the prickles got to us, not to mention the heat (85 degrees by 8:30).
As we were about to head in, I realized I didn’t have my new prescription sunglasses and couldn’t remember if I had worn them out to the field. We looked around the bush but didn’t find them. I prayed they were at home.
They weren’t. I looked all over the house, in my car, all the usual places. No glasses. By now Ralph was up and dressed. He willingly drove me to the field. And then he actually got out of the car and looked with me.
We walked carefully around the bush, but I saw nothing and was about to give up when Ralph asked, “Are these your glasses?”
I hugged him. And then I hugged him again when we got home. I cannot tell you how elated I was that he found them. Elated out of all proportion (although new glasses would have been expensive). And of course he basked in my elation and appreciation.
The reasons Ralph’s finding my glasses was so pleasing:
- He actually offered to drive me and he willingly got into the heat and looked with me. And he was so good-natured about it.
- This is the pattern of his behavior now: If I ask him to bring me a cup of coffee or clear the dishes or bring in the groceries, he does it with a smile. If I ask him to wait, he is patient in a way he never used to be…sit in the car while I run an errand, no problem; wait for a late dinner while I finish up in my office, no problem. If I want to watch a TV program he let me turn the station; if I turn on the radio before he’s ready to wake up, he doesn’t mind; if I watch TV after he’s gone to sleep he doesn’t mind.
- He never loses his temper. Our grandkids/nieces tell me he is the nicest grandfather/uncle they have: affectionate and funny.
- In other words, he is kind of a sweetheart.
Note to myself: Remember this moment and these feelings later….