Lightening Bolt

 Glacier National Park, 2009.

Glacier National Park, 2009.

We are watching a basketball game as a family.  Frances has her head on my shoulder and Brad is laying on my lap.  We are just having some relaxing family time and I love it.  I am tired, having fixed a nice dinner and we have nothing on the schedule for the next day.  Nice.

There is a controversial play in the game we are watching.  They show a replay and discuss the call.  Then they show the play again and again.  Jim pipes up, “ wow. Same play.” I have to explain to him, “that is a replay.

He remembers the previous play well enough to know the next play he sees on TV is the same one, but isn’t quite with it enough to realize it is a replay they are showing.

So, I come to the crossroads.  Just let him say these things and NOT correct him, or whenever he says something that isn’t correct, let him know.

Some would say to just let it slide.  Some argue that would be mean and would be humiliating and would be bad for him. It is a debate I have fought within my own mind time after time after time.

For years I have corrected him and gotten frustrated and yelled and threw tantrums in response to his ineptness.  Then after, I would feel guilty and just fall into a depression that would take enormous effort to climb out of .

Not too long ago, I had one of those life changing “AHA” moments.  I couldn’t understand why I continued to get on Jim.  What does it matter if he can’t recall if he bought milk at the store or not?  Why do I have to get upset if he can’t remember if he took a shower today?

That was completely taking over my psyche.  I mean, I was really beating myself up.  Just let it go Karen.  You know why he is like this. Just love and support him and ignore his goof ups.

But I couldn’t.  The constant battle in my head was really wearing on me.

That was when I finally had one of those life changing realizations:

If I stop correcting him and getting on him, I have given up.

That hit me like a bolt of lightening.

I am not a quitter.  I have a very competitive nature.  My first instinct with Jim or my kids or really anything that is a challenge: what is the solution and how can we beat this?  How can we win?

With this sudden realization, I came to understand my natural instinct is to treat him the same as always.  To treat him as if he SHOULD be remembering and knowing what is going on and being able to figure out.

When I stop expecting him to be himself, I have quit.  I have given up.  Then we really don’t have any chance.  Then I am not expecting anything from him or hoping for a miracle.

But I am not sure that justifies the constant corrections.  How does it affect the kids when they see me correcting their father all the time? I am realizing there is a fine line and a better way.  It is a slow process and while I must accept his changes, I must also accept my frailties and my inability to let the old Jim go.  I am not ready to let him go and so I still fight for him.  I believe with all of my heart that he is fighting, in his own way, he is struggling to remain the Jim of old.  I will continue to fight with him, just not at him.

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comment (1)

One Response to “Lightening Bolt”

  1. Missing Jim :: Confessions of an Alzheimer’s Wife » Lightening Bolt

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