Checks and Balances


Jim and Me, May 2013.

Jim and Me, May 2013.

“You are overthinking. Just not KFC.”

This was a text from a friend I was going to meet for lunch recently. This simple, short, to the point communication shouted out to me something that has been under the surface for a long time.

I really miss the part of my relationship with Jim that keeps me in check. Jim was always very good at letting me be me. He was also there to reel me in when I started going down the wrong path or if I just wasn’t living up to my potential. He was the type of husband I needed; a man that would give me room and at the same time keep me within the boundaries I needed to stay. It is only recently that I have realized that I am having to monitor myself and keep myself accountable. My safety net isn’t always going to be there to catch me and keep me from falling.

Not that he isn’t still a great husband, but I have noticed that he really doesn’t seem to have an opinion about much lately. Living with someone that doesn’t seem to care one way or the other can become pretty lonely. It used to bother me how much space and room Jim gave me. I had watched too many romance movies and read too many romance books. But as I matured, I came to realize what a blessing it was to have a man that let me be true to myself and who loved me, as I was, without trying to change me.

I wouldn’t call myself a wild child, but the term has been used before. On the other hand, Jim has always been very black and white and by the book. Those traits were one of the reasons he was an outstanding member of the US Air Force. During our early years of marriage Jim would give me the space I needed.  I would go out with my friends or get involved in something new and exciting. But when it was time for me to slow down and spend time with him, he let me know. It took some time for us to work out a good system and exactly what our roles were in our marriage. For a couple of years, we seemed to have a good marital system down.

Reading that text reminded me that I don’t really have anyone keeping me focused, balanced and in line. It is more than not having a partner in the decision making process; it is not having the person you didn’t want to disappoint or let down beside you. It is having some crazy idea about something around the house or with the finances and not having your better half to either agree or disagree with the notion. Or come up with a better solution.

I tend to overthink and over analyze. Conversations. Plans. How to spend money or not to spend money. What to do around the house. What to do about situations that arise with the kids. I lay in bed agonizing over decisions and wondering if I am making a mistake or if I hurt someone’s feelings or if I could have done something better. Jim was my go- to person to listen, comment and advise to help me work through whatever it was I was contemplating.

About 3 or 4 months ago I realized I no longer even discuss most things with him because it either confuses him or frustrates me when he doesn’t remember the conversation or comes back with some crazy, off the wall comment that didn’t relate to what I was talking about.

Part of being lonely in a house full of people is feeling isolated and distant. I think Jim must feel the same way. I have asked him but he says he feels loved and he always has something to keep him busy so he isn’t lonely. He just focuses on his lists. Every once in a while I will push a little harder and dig a little deeper. And that is when it hurts. Hurts to see his tears and see his lip quiver as he tells me he isn’t scared but he doesn’t want to think about what is happening and what is going to happen. He knows. As always, he is still disciplined enough to not think about something that will bother him. This is one trait that I always wished I had of his. I still do.

It is hard to imagine that he doesn’t notice the change in our relationship or the dynamic that has shifted in our family. He must.

I miss the part of Jim that could stand up to me and tell me what he really thought. I miss the part of Jim that could have a serious conversation, going back and forth with our own personal opinions. I miss the funny, light side of Jim that could make me laugh and make me feel so special and so beautiful. I miss having a partner that I could count on to keep our family on the right path and help me be the best Mom and wife and person I could be.

I don’t trust myself to do this without him.

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (7)

7 Responses to “Checks and Balances”

  1. Jodi Melsness says:

    Karen, I just wrote the same thing about my Mom yesterday. I blog in WordPress and it’s called The Lemon Bar Queen. I am also a RN, and know the future. Will look forward to your writings. God Bless.

  2. mbethea says:

    Agree 100%

  3. Michelle Fox says:

    You are going down a terrible, lonely path and it is scary. As I read your posts sometimes, I wonder who they are for? So many of them are about you and your frustrations, your loneliness etc. As an Alzheimer’s person gets worse they become oriented just towards themselves. It does not appear that Jim is there yet, maybe at times. My mom is much further along in her disease. She is totally orientated x1 but it is the disease. You cannot expect things out of them when the disease is causing their mind not to respond. That would be like telling a person in a wheelchair if you just try hard enough, you can get up and walk! I am only saying these things because I am there with mom. I want my mom back. I never wanted her to go away but she has…slowly and we are now at a very desperate stage of this disease. You have to try and look forward. I belong to a private on-line group that are caretakers. These women get frustrated with their husbands but love them as they are, would never place them in a facility, even though it would be easier on them, they are amazing. I am not that good. I know my limitations. I love deeply and cry everyday but you can only do what you can do. That is acceptance. Stop looking back…try to keep from looking forward except to protect yourself and live in the moment…while there are moments to live. This is tough, I think of you and your journey and pray..for all of this battle.

  4. Mary says:

    Thanks Karen and Michelle, this is indeed a money road. My husband is still hear but I don’t tell him anything that will upset him, we only talk about good things and the problems are mine. A new and sad road that isn’t going to get any better. Prayers to all of you.

  5. Lynn graves says:

    I always appreciate my day more when I remember that I have it so good. You give me that gift! I feel your loneliness and pain in your writings! Don’t forget that you have a support team to reach out to. We don’t have answers just open arms to hold you!

  6. Kathy Arle says:

    Karen, Jodi, Michelle & too many others – I lost my Dad to this nightmare of a disease July 21. We ended up having to admit him to a long-term care facility (aka nursing home) the end of January because it just wasn’t safe or possible anymore for my Mom to care for him by herself. One of the things that kept our family going was keeping a list of “Moments of Grace.” Through all of the terrible and painful times, there were always moments when the Dad we knew shone through – moments of grace. Or when other families cried with us and the nursing home staff hugged us – moments of grace. My prayers are with all of you.

  7. Michelle Fox says:

    Kathy, thank you for sharing and condolences to your family. What a wonderful idea, Moments of Grace…I am going to start that. God Bless You and all of us on this journey.. Thanks Karen for providing this outlet.

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