RALPH HAS RE-SIGNED or is it RESIGNED HIS WILL

last willRalph has resigned his will.

Interesting how typos work. I sat down to write about taking Ralph to our lawyer to re-sign his will but evidently I have something else on my mind as well.

And really the two are not unrelated. Our lawyer re-drew my will months ago. because I realized while driving down the highway and witnessing a car crash that I needed to consider the possibility that something bad could happen to me. Death of course. But also, what if I suffer a debilitating injury in a car crash or have a stroke, or what if my irrational fear that Alzheimer’s is contagious comes true and I disintegrate faster than Ralph? We had a standard husband-and-wife arrangement that left Ralph in charge of our finances.

Obviously I should have dealt with this possibility sooner (a word to the wise) but luckily I’m still around so I had our attorney change things up, creating a trust for Ralph and giving financial power of attorney to one kid, medical power of attorney to the other—Ralph won’t have to handle anything. I signed my new will and caught some other minor changes that were needed, but it didn’t occur to me until recently, that those same changes were needed in Ralph’s will. So the lawyer re-drew his will too and off we went to sign it.

The thing is I kept waiting, with some dread, for Ralph to ask questions about the revision, but he had no particular interest in knowing the will’s content. His concern was that we had to drive into the city and “waste the day.” Really I think his concern was that he wouldn’t be allowed to smoke in my car, a valid concern since he was correct. But he acquiesced pretty easily.

 

Because in fact he has already resigned his will. And signed it over to me. For years now I have watched a man who used to say with regularity and only half kidding, “It’s my way or the highway” devolve, giving up decision-making in first small and then larger increments: From “I’ve decided” (most of our married life) to “What is your opinion?” (starting about a dozen years ago in our second honeymoon stage to make up for the fact that we fought all through our first honeymoon) to “Oh, you decide but be sure you….” “Oh, you handle it, but have you considered….” and “What did you decide and are you sure you made the right choice” (in the last years preceding and in the first years after his diagnosis) to “You decide…” and “You handle…”  His main conversation starter these days is actually “Explain to me again what you decided about…..” (multiple times in a row whenever a question gets onto his mental loop), but mostly he doesn’t start conversations about anything involving decisions, big or little. And he never suggests. As for reactions to my suggestions, that’s a bit more complicated. He goes along with pretty much whatever I tell him, no small responsibility. He retains a bit of stubbornness when it comes to leaving his comfort of the farm (“I don’t want to go out to dinner” “Do we have to go to the beach with the family” “Oh not the doctor again”) but for better or worse he’s even becoming more malleable about being ordered off the front porch. I am not sure if that’s a relief or a worry.

10 thoughts on “RALPH HAS RE-SIGNED or is it RESIGNED HIS WILL

  1. Dad was not particularly opinionated but he’d always had wide-ranging interests from Clydesdale horses to politics and was a voracious reader until dementia began to narrow down his focus of interests. It seems to be the way of it. It took me a long time to accept that he no longer wanted to read as I couldn’t (still can’t) imagine a life without books. Stay stong, my friend.

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    1. What I find is that I have no trouble accepting his disinterest in movies or money, two big shared interests that we often disagreed over, but am upset by his lack of interest in food and politics. Think that says more about me than him of course. As for books, he clings to reading as an activity in his life although I’m not sure much actually reading is occurring. Thanks for writing Mary. Did I send you the info I had on ordering the book? I can’t remember of course.

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  2. I have been so amazed by my husband’s incuriosity; he is not curious about our financial situation, why workmen are in our house, why we are or are not doing something, etc. He mostly is amiable about things, thank goodness, but it’s as if those things don’t really concern him. Again, we seem to be in very similar places in this journey, Alice, and there’s something reassuring about that. Thanks for your blog.

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    1. Yes, and both our husbands were once intensely curious, or in Ralph’s case at least intensely opinionated. Their reactions are completely understandable but require getting used to…

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  3. Hi Alice –

    At least for me, your last two posts are closely related.

    I’m on overload from all of the articles I’ve read about AD, how it progresses, and what lifestyle changes might keep me out of the nursing home and grave a few months longer. However, I don’t pay as much attention to all of that as I used to because I’m spending more and more time with my new friend, Apathy. I’m sure my attitude invades conversations with my wife when we discuss everything from what to have for dinner to where we will live after I retire next January, from little decisions to big ones. I don’t think people ever thought of me as particularly bossy to begin with, but I’m pretty sure that I say, “whatever you want to do is OK,” more than ever before.

    And that’s because I really don’t care.

    In recent months I have surprised myself at how often I am perfectly content to just sit on the couch in silence, sometimes with my laptop closed on my lap because nothing interests me enough to expend the minimal effort to open it up and surf the web. So I just sit there. That’s very unlike the type-A personality I’ve been all my life.

    I know from all the articles that this change is consistent with how AD progresses in many people, and that it’s important to get enough sleep, expose myself to intellectual and social stimulation, stick to the Mind Diet, and some other things – but my buddy Apathy tells me that it’s better to just sit on the couch doing nothing and forget about all of that because no amount of lifestyle change really makes a damn bit of difference.

    Hope this isn’t too dark, Alice.

    Heading Somewhere

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    1. Never feel you have been too dark. What I so appreciate is you honesty as well as your self-awareness and bravery in describing your life. You humble me. As for apathy, caregivers and caregivers both experience it although I do not want to minimize the far more intense experience of caregivees. Thank you so much for sticking with me, and for your friendship…

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