Artifacts of Love

 

October 1996, bridesmaid hair!

October 1996, bridesmaid hair!

Some days go almost as if there is nothing that is different or “wrong” in our family.  We play games, we carry on conversations, we clean up around the house, we go out to dinner and watch ball games together.  For a few liberating minutes, it feels like not only can we do this, but that it is going to be OK.  These are the days and moments I cherish and need to stay in a somewhat healthy frame of mind.

It doesn’t always start out so blissful.  Jim was trying to clean the bathroom mirror with just water this morning instead of glass cleaner.  There were water drops collecting all over and he couldn’t seem to figure out what was wrong.  I eventually told him he had to use the cleaner. Then he somehow took apart part of the sink and now it won’t drain right.  I have a feeling that I will be calling a plumber in the next day or so.

But, it is OK.  He still cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed.  And he seemed to follow the basketball game we went to and he didn’t look too disoriented. Yes, this is a good day.

One of the things we are trying to do is clean out years worth of paperwork and scatterings of memorabilia that we have collected since before we were married.  Today I took an hour or so to go through two boxes that Jim had brought down from the attic.  In this box were old cards, notes, letters and ticket stubs from our first few years of dating and marriage.  The memories that came flooding back.  The beautiful writing that flowed from Jim’s pen.  The sentimental words that seem even more poignant now.  Telling me in so many different ways how much he loves me, how he wants to grow old with me, how happy he is that we are together.  I start to cry as these memories overwhelm me.  Brad sees me and asks me why I am crying.  I tell him because I am reading old love notes from Daddy and that it makes me so happy that I have to cry.  It is stark contrast to the scrawling  Jim does now.  It makes me recall how talented he always has been with words and how he seems to struggle with writing his thoughts and feelings now.  Seeing all of the love and emotions in his words and knowing they were written BAD (Before Alzheimer’s Diagnosis), before our world started to collapse around us, means so much more.  THIS is MY Jim.  The man I fell in love with.  The man that swept me off my feet.  I still live with him but very rarely get to see that man.  These souvenirs of a happier and carefree time were indeed bittersweet. They helped me recall the man I married and how in love we were and what he was like.  Sometimes it is easy to forget his wit and his romance and our closeness and how absolutely wonderful he was to me.  It seems like a different lifetime, but it was only a few years ago. I will treasure these mementos for the rest of my life and will one day share them with Frances and Brad.  I am so glad I didn’t toss them years ago and still have these artifacts of our love and our early years to preserve a memory that I struggle to retain.

Yes, there are still good days and they are a sweet, sweet vacation from our new normal.

posted by Karen in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Artifacts of Love”

  1. Barbara Shefelton says:

    Karen, I know it has been said many times – but hear it again – You are a great writer. Honest, raw, eloquent, funny, touching. I hope this is proving to be a good outlet. I’ve shared your blog address with our group and with other groups I know of – here and in Georgia. You words will spread and make a difference. Thank you. – Barb

  2. Your blog is amazing and heart-breaking and infuriating and inspiring. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful family.

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