Monthly Archives: May 2013

Walking History off the Page

I have a friend on Facebook who always delights me with the bits and pieces she finds that relate to the visual and performing arts and all facets of history.  I have learned much from the results of her gleaning and it prompted me to ask her if she had a blog.  “No?  No blog?  Oh, dear.  Well, would you like to guest star on mine?”  I am sure it will not take her long to outgrow a position as a contributing author, but while we have her to ourselves let us enjoy some of the gems she finds in that vast ocean of information we call the Internet.  Here, then, is Lenora Rogers.

Each bit of history I find only entices me to learn more.  I want to learn more about the place and the people.  What was ita7 like during periods of history I am familiar with in other areas?  For this project I decided to find out more about the film, Adormidera.

The film will be of special interest to those who love history or movies about battles. It was actually filmed without a budget.  During my conversations with the cast I have learned of the beauty of Malta and I have learned something of its history. Even though I am a fan of medieval history and themes, most of that information is centered on the main European continent.  Malta, a small island off the southern tip of Italy, has its own unique history within the context of the times.

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Watching the aspects of this movie come together has taught me much and made me eager to learn more.  I am looking forward to catching the reviews once the film is released and hope that it will be shown in the US.  I know that I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the cast.  These are the questions I asked of Ray Mizzi.

What is this film about? 

Adormidera is about five medieval soldiers returning home after a great battle. On their journey home, they stop to rest for one night at Lord William’s fort. While being there, one of the soldiers fell in love with one of the fort’s ladies. This had changed all involved destiny.

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Who did the research to make this look authentic?

By the help of both Maltese re-enactment groups, Show of Arms and Anakron, this helped to get close to the medieval era.

a5Where did you find the costumes?

Most of the costumes are of same two re-enactment groups and some were made just for the movie.

What kind of budget did you have to work with?

There was no budget at all. All involved, cast and crew worked on this project with passion and pleasure.

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Who did the set design? How did they decide what to use in a scene?

The set design was done by Kevin Mallia.  All sets were in my imagination.  I just showed Kevin what I wanted and he did the design.

Where did you find the props for this film?

All weapons were provided by the re-enactment groups and all other domestic props are property of The Malta Film Commission.

a9How did you choose the actors?

All actors were of both re-enactment groups and the main actors I chose myself.

Are the actors full time or do they have other careers?

All actors have other careers cause here in Malta it is very difficult to live with just acting.

Did you use the locals for extras?

All extras are local.

In a lot of the photos I saw, everyone seems to be having a great time. Did everyone get along?

Most of the time it was great fun for all, cause as I said before this film was done with pleasure and not for money.

a10Were the costumes uncomfortable for everyone?

Most of the costumes are made of iron and are very heavy. When we spend a lot of time filming, we have to take breaks for the soldiers to rest and get their strength back.

Why did you choose to do this film?

This is my favorite era and I chose to do this, because it gives more power to the story than just a normal present day life.

When is this film due for release? Will it be showing in the United States?

Adormidera will be in Malta’s cinemas by the end of this year. Till now I do not know if it will be released abroad.  If in Malta it does well, than I will consider of releasing in other countries.

Do you have other projects in the works in the near future?

No, I gave all my strength and thoughts to this movie. When all is over, I’ll begin thinking of another movie.   Maybe next time…. a horror. 🙂

Ray Mizzi , it has been an absolute pleasure doing this and I wish the film great success.  Thank you for taking the time to do this for me!

And thank you, Lenora!  Here are few places to check out this “indie film” and see what progress they are making.  On Facebook there are photos from the film and the shooting.  A trailer has been added to YouTube.  Stop by and check out what it takes to make history “walk off the page.”

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Filed under Humanties for the Unbound Mind, My Bookshelf ~ Current Era

My career as an author

Well, things are moving along quite well in the world of writing.  My first book Who I Am Yesterday, is beginning to get quite a bit of exposure.  A number of reviews have been added to the Amazon listing, and I have been invited to speak to a local group not far from my home.  Some of this great exposure is coming with the help of a person I hired to help my husband.  With his experience in the field he felt it should be marketed more aggressively.  So, between my growing network of friends on social media and through this blog and the devoted efforts of a personal marketer, my little book is starting to make an impact.  Here is the latest review by Kathy Ree.

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Filed under Authored Works, Caregiving Backstage

The File Cabinet Caper – Part II

When last we spoke on this subject, replacement cabinets had been ordered and the project at hand was to move piles and piles of folders and such into another room.  It was also necessary to empty one bookshelf in order to get full access to the patio door.  No other alternative made sense.  Other than wanting me to show him where things should go, help move them and explain (many, many times) what was going on, Sunday and Monday passed with relative ease.

Tuesday morning dawns and we are well on our way to stage two of the adventure.  Both our landlord and the fellow that “helps” my husband are scheduled to show up around noon or so to move the old file cabinets out to the patio and tarp them in order to protect them from the rain.  Now; I was going to get those tarps, bungee cords, and blocks at the hardware store on Monday.  Several emergencies popped up with the day job and suddenly there were multiple newly-imposed deadlines and that trip went out the window with a bang.  Landlord was kind enough to supply said needed materials.

So, around noon our assistant shows up and the three of us go downstairs so I can explain what needs to happen.  There seems to be something amiss.  The bookcase that we had emptied the night before is now full again and back in place in front of the sliding door.  Remember, I’m working on a deadline or two for work so, well, this was not a happy sight.  I deserted our assistant indicating the books had to be moved again but only to a place where my husband wanted them.  Hee hee – time for someone else to share the fun!

Once the re-do was completed, the process actually went rather smoothly.  Pictures were taken to entice possible customers.  All three cabinets were set up so that they did not block any windows that my husband likes to look through. Things were covered up and secured.  Doors closed.  Now, another explanation requiring time concepts that are no longer resident in my husband’s head.  “Don’t move anything until after the new cabinets come tomorrow.”  “What cabinets?”  “Who’s coming?” “When will they be here?”  “I have work to do, I can’t leave it like this.”  “Please just leave it.” “Okay.”

Wednesday morning.  Things have been a bit stressful for almost two weeks at this point.  My poor husband has always had a tender stomach, so off to bed he goes for a nap.  The phone rings.  A wonderful meaningless automated message that does not permit playback indicating that someone is terribly sorry for the inconvenience but the delivery is delayed and should be there on the 15th.  It is the 15th and at this moment it is not late.  I call customer service.  Well, “they” don’t know where the confusion is but the system says it is on the truck.  “They” will contact the warehouse.  It should be there by 3:00.  At 3:30 I call again.  Is it, or is it not going to be delivered today?  Well, it’s on the truck and they must deliver between 9 and 5.  I see.

Waiting until five is not the best idea because it throws our routine out of order.  If you have ever dealt with dementia you know that routine is absolutely required to keep things from getting out of hand.  At this point I have delayed going to the grocery store so long we have to go: so where is the delivery?  Hoping to salvage something I fix dinner, clean dishes and – 5:15 – no delivery.

Third call to the vendor asking whether or not my order is on the truck?  Well, ma’am we show it is on the truck but there is some kind of hold up and the warehouse has not returned our calls.  I see.  Now I hear the UPS can deliver as late as 7:00 in the evening.  I think I got a bit, well, unhappy.  The lady on the other end of the line starts trying to say sorry once per second and informs me they will be sending me a coupon to mitigate the problems I am having.  They even offered to cancel the order (oh, me, please no).  At 5:30 I leave a note on the door about where to put the boxes (in the rain) and we leave for the store.  Back at 6:30, no boxes.  Forgot coffee – must have coffee.  So back out we go to the neighborhood stop and rob to pick up something that would have been cheaper at a fancy latté counter.

Exhausted, I climb into the tub for my evening back treatment prepared to try to get some work done.  Not necessarily a good idea.  Our routine is, when necessary grocery, Victoria’s back, dinner, evening science program, bed (for him)/work (for me).  Now we are all discombobulated (Word actually knew how to spell that).  I get out of the tub and he has set the table for dinner.  It is easier to fix a bed time snack than explain that we already had dinner.  Finally, I get back to my computer.

Thursday.  After all of this commotion and disruption, he is really not feeling well.  We haven’t been up all that long when he decides he needs to go back to bed.  After much prodding he tells me that he is feeling nauseous and tired.  Is he sick, or stressed? At this point it is impossible to tell.  I promise to wake him later.  Finally the cabinets show up.  Three cardboard boxes, some assembly required.

In this day and age of “some assembly required” it is not uncommon for folks to purchase things that come in cartons which must then be unpacked and assembled.  If you have participated in this great adventure you may have noticed that the item seems to weight a whole lot more in the box in the back of your vehicle than it does when you have it assembled and move it around in a room.  This is a function of something called density.  Even though the mass and weight may be relatively the same, it feels heavier because everything packed snugly together creates density.  One hundred and fifteen pounds of steel is not particularly light.  And I get to put it together.

I have, actually, assembled a great deal of our furniture.  Cabinets, desks, bookshelves, computer stands.  This is not something strange and daunting.  Except that I have a job.  So, how do we manage to get these things put together quickly enough to satisfy waiting husband while still trying to meet certain obligations on a work schedule.  There’s always lunch time.  And our science program today will be: “How to assemble a storage cabinet.”  First one went up that day.

assemble1Friday.  Still feeling poorly, he barely makes it through breakfast before he wanders back to bed.  Well, at least I can catch up on some things and maybe I can get him to wait until Saturday for the next cabinet.  He does get up but seems rather lethargic and I start to get really worried.  After a few calls to consulting nurses, we end up at the Urgent Care center on Saturday morning.

The concept of going to the doctor seems to be more appealing than actually being at the doctor’s.  This is something I have experienced before, so I try to make sure we do need to go so I can be more firm while we are there.  We actually got in rather quickly and the nurse did all those things they are supposed to and the doctor ordered fluids.  So, after blood went out the door we were told to wait for x-ray.  Took a bit to find out there was some mess up on that and it had to be reordered.  By now we had been there for a while and he started to get antsy.  I expressed concern that I may have to take him home and wait for results.  No problem, but we should have something soon.  Sigh.  Maybe the blood work was stuck on the office supply delivery truck?  Toward the end of the 3rd hour after arriving, he was ready to go.  Go now.  If he had to take the IV with him, he was going.

This is one of those times when I wish that emergency room physicians had at least some training regarding the behavior patterns of patients with dementia.  If he was ready to go there was no way I could keep him in that bed unless he was restrained which I would never allow unless the situation was life threatening.  Since all they had found by then was that he was a little dehydrated, that was not the case.  The doctor got huffed up and informed me we were leaving against medical advice.  I responded that I understood that.  He emphatically stated he wanted to leave.

It took another half hour for the nurse to show up and remove the IV.  This had been a very attentive nurse up to that point and from her attitude and the total absence of the doctor my guess is she was told to stall as long as she could.  Thanks Doc.  I wouldn’t really want to wish this on anyone, but someday you may have to deal with a person suffering from dementia and you may (I repeat may) gain an understanding of the issues at hand.  I was unable to get him to admit whether or not he needed to go to the bathroom until I was actually getting him dressed.  I grabbed the opportunity.  And managed to provide that last sample I believe the doctor wanted.

After we left we stopped for lunch and he became all talkative and close to his normal self again.  I had rescued him from a fate unknown.  Back home we went.  Note to self, try forgetting to offer coffee for awhile and offer juice instead.  Research Dehydration since the discharge papers were completely silent on the subject even though doctor said that’s all she could find.  Check online thingy later for further test results.

Back home.  Back on my computer and trying to finish a few things still undone from the week before.  Buzzing along quite nicely and then: I hear that peculiar twang a steel sheet makes when being moved.  He must be checking out the new cabinet.  It shouldn’t twang like that.  Maybe I should check out the new cabinet.  Arriving at the file room downstairs I discover he has opened one of the two remaining boxes and is taking pieces of cabinet out.  Great.  I guess it’s time to assemble another storage cabinet.

There appears to be a problem.  One of the pieces is bent.  Doesn’t appear to be something that he did because the paint is not scratched.  No, probably something that happened in the warehouse or during shipping.  Under any normal circumstances I would stop, call the provider and have the thing replaced.  Not particularly interested in that option at this point.  Soooo, is it a door?  I can order a replacement door rather easily.  Of course not. It’s a side panel.  Near the hinge.  Sigh.  Well, maybe I can make it work.

assemble2He actually helped on this one a bit.  Tightening a few screws, holding pieces while I bolted things together.  Then the moment arrived to try the bent panel.  Pushing didn’t help.  Pulling didn’t do it.  Finally, squeezing the panel and the door together I got the hinge pin in place.  Does it work?  Yep.  Done deal.  Time for the break I was going to take before I felt the sudden need to check out noises.

Sunday.  Today I decided to circumvent any curious goings on in the basement and went downstairs fairly early to assemble the last of these trouble makers.  As it was I had to track down a few of the supplies and tools I had left in the room with instructions that they must stay until things were done.  The photos are from this go round.  I’m usually pretty fast at this sort of thing.  I will admit I get a might confused on the direction of screws or nuts when hanging upside down and using my left hand, but in the end it usually goes together pretty fast.

Did I solve the problem that started almost a month ago?  Not really certain yet.  He hasn’t started “moving in” to the new cabinets, but he has been rather specific about where he wants them.  Well, the assistant is here tomorrow.  I think it’s time someone else focus on the hows and wheres of files and papers.

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The Next Big Thing – Stacey Brewer

Last week I went off and visited Mari Collier as part of “The Next Big Thing.”  My participation in the project can be found here.  This week, Stacey Brewer is visiting me.  Her blog can be found here.  Once she has draw answers from her friend, Ivy Hanalea she will post them and then pass the torch to Ivy, who lives here.

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(Graphic courtesy of: PicGifs

Deep breath!  So, here are Stacey’s answers to questions about her current work in progress.  I hope the originator did not think singular because I don’t think there is a writer on earth that can work on only one WIP at a time!

1.      What is the working title of your next book?

That’s actually the toughest question on this list!  My working title changes almost daily.  Today, it’s “Crystal Cave,” but yesterday it was “Edge of Shadows.”  Who knows what it will be by the time it’s ready to publish!

2.      Where did the idea come from for the book?

I heard a line in a movie incorrectly, and it created all sorts of new questions and ideas that I want to explore.  Specifically – what happens when a character that is almost purely selfish suddenly discovers he wants to protect someone other than himself?

3.      What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Fiction

4.      What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Actually, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to that question!  Celie, the female main character, looks a lot like Irish singer Janet Devlin, and Orin, the male main character, looks exactly like German model Paul Boche (in this picture).

5.      What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Celie Bryant – a master potion-maker and witch of great talent, is called upon by the Sidhe to renew the potion that keeps the legendary Spear of Lugh safely sleeping before a rogue Sidhe succeeds in waking it fully and using it to tear the Veil between the worlds.

6.      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope to find an agent and traditionally publish.

7.      How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m still writing.  We won’t discuss how long I’ve been at it…  >_<

8.      What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker” by Leanna Renee Hieber is probably the closest of anything I have read.  It uses a historical setting mixed with otherworldly creatures and events.  “Percy Parker” is set in the Victorian Era and mine is set in the Roaring ’20s.

9.      Who or what inspired you to write this book?

All of the great books I’ve ever read, and the hope that someone, somewhere will love my book as much as I love so many others.

10.  What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Flappers, faeries, and speakeasies!

There you go!  Visit Stacey and Ivy to see the continuing saga of how writers manage to guide their creative spirits as best they can until they capture a piece of their imagination for the fun and edification of their readers.

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The File Cabinet Caper – Part I

Photo courtesy of DaniJace of WANA Commons

Photo courtesy of DaniJace of WANA Commons

Well, at least some of my friends know that this week has been one harrowing experience.  The storm began to brew on April 23 when I finally broke down and hired a locksmith to come fix the lock on one of my husband’s 4-drawer lateral file cabinets. No, this is not the fire safe cabinet introduced in my book; this is a completely different tale.

I had, actually, made an effort to remove the lock so that I could deliver it to our local locksmith and have a key made.  I did not get very far in this project before I realized this was not a simple task.  Thus, the call to the kind of locksmith that travels around in a vehicle full of lock stuff.

Very nice young man shows up and looks at the lock.  After-market – old, super security lock – can’t make a key – must replace lock.  Sigh.  So, he extracts the lock and leaves to search for a replacement lock.  Evidently such a thing does not exist.  Said nice young man has researched suppliers from Canada to California and who knows where else.  Is this something that you can explain to a person suffering from dementia?  Sure; about 50 times a day.

Meanwhile; I discover that he (my husband) has an issue with the two file cabinets and are perfectly fine, have keys and lock rather nicely.  The drawers only work certain times of day.  “See, I can’t open this one.” “Sweetheart, you already have a drawer open.  You can only open one drawer at a time so it doesn’t fall down on top of you.” “Oh. But they only work certain times of the day.”  This conversation went downhill in a hurry.  I think I’ll leave out the various names I heard “that woman” called the next morning.

Back downstairs we go.  “Does this one work?”  Note to reader, this 4-drawer lateral file cabinet is of the sort that the front panels rotate up above the drawer and you can see what is inside.  You can still only have one drawer at a time pulled out, but you can see what is in the drawer.  And it locks and we have a key. “Yes, this one is fine.”  Okay, next step.

Knowing that there is no way on earth he could comprehend what he was looking at by viewing a picture on the computer screen, we went on a shopping trip today.  For reasons beyond me neither office supply store had a storage cabinet in the display area.  So, after a try at a department store kind of place, we arrived at a big box hardware store (no ads in my blogs unless you are an author).

In aisle thirty-something we locate what I was looking for, a locking storage cabinet.  This appears to be acceptable, but it is too tall.  Why, because it is bolted to the display counter and the feet are barely at eye level.  Yes it would be Okay, but do we have a ladder?  Sigh.  “So, if I could find one that is about so (5 ½ feet) would that be Okay?”  “Yes, I think that would work.”  (Shudder, “think it would work” always gets me in trouble).  I proceed to carefully explain my plan to go home so I can shop price and order the thing on line.

Almost out the door, “Where are we going?”  “Home.” “Aren’t we going to get it?”  Now, the cabinet that we are looking at is 30” X 18” X 72.9” – we are getting three of them.  I drive a Saturn Vue.  I will grant we have a rack on top, but I don’t see me loading these steel creatures on top of our car, driving home, and then packing them down our stairs.  This is a concept that will be mentioned later.

Finally, we manage to get home and I start looking for alternatives.  Poor lady at online office supply store, two of the cabinets I ask about are out of stock.  So, I settle for something wider (do you think he will notice)?  Delivery planned for Wednesday.  Duly marked on calendar.  Next step.

“Will you go with me?”  “Go where?” “I tried to tell her (the woman that took him – that would be me) that we could talk to the lady up front and get the one we wanted.”  “Sweetheart, I can’t move cabinets that big.  I need help.  And there are things in the room we need to get out first.”  “But I know where we can get it.”  I think I managed with pictures and calendar markings to explain that the cabinets were on the way.  Nice strong men would move them for us, and I wouldn’t have to try to haul them home.  I also had to explain that these were not the kind of things we put together at home.  In the past I have purchased a number of bookcases, hauled them home, moved them in piece by piece and then assembled them.  Won’t work here.  Somehow we managed to move on.

The filing room downstairs contains 4 4-drawer lateral file cabinets plus 4 4-drawer vertical file cabinets.  Something has to move or the new cabinets aren’t going anywhere but the hall.  That means that the things in those cabinets must be moved.  “Where.”  “Please put them here.”  “Why?” “Because we need to use the back door.”  “Oh.”

You have to realize that all this paperwork only represents about 70-80% of his research files – the rest is still in boxes.  He spends a great deal of time moving this stuff around.  Sometimes because people tell him he can’t have a certain spot (so I put his name on the door) or because someone complained about how he did it (I probably made a suggestion).  But, for the most part, over the past month or so he has been trying to take files off the book shelves and put them in the filing room.  This is a good thing.  But now we have to undo that process in order to try to resolve the problem of the file cabinets that “don’t work.”

“Victoria,” you may ask, “why are you replacing perfectly good file cabinets in an effort to fix this problem that exists only in his mind?”  Probably because I like to carry on conversations, complete my work for my clients, and even write a blog or two.  He has been camped out in my office many times in the last week discussing and re-discussing various aspects of this problem.

Do I really maintain this rather oblique sense of humor during these episodes?  No.  And I really don’t know where this one is going.  I’ll have to share part two after Wednesday when, hopefully, the new cabinets are here.  I am also hoping I manage to find a home for the old file cabinets which will be under a tarp on the back porch because there is nowhere else for them to go.

If you don’t hear from me, I’ll be in the corner of my office staring at the ceiling and mumbling campfire songs.  Forgive me if I’m drooling.

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Off visiting, again…

So, this week I was a guest of Mari Collier, a fellow author and friend.  The interview was about works in progress.  I will get to post the same  thing for another friend (Stacey Brewer) next week.  Check out Mari’s place on Goodreads!

There have been a few requests for the cover of Why Me? Come Let Us Reason With Job.  Although it will likely go through some artistic tweaking, here is the working design:

sample2

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Reflections ~ When Did I Learn Not to Cry?

newpath2Yes, I know it has been a bit since I posted and, well, there really isn’t any excuse.  I did write a guest blog for my friend Stacey Brewer.  It appeared here on her site as part of Blogging from A to Z.  It was a fun post and generated feedback for both of us.  Other than that, life just got in the way a bit.  That, of course, brings me to this post.  One that it appears I must write or my head will not move on to other subjects.

As of this month it will have been two years since my husband and I visited Vancouver Island.  For those of you who have read my book, Who I Am Yesterday, you will know that this was my “moment of awakening.”  It was during our trip to the beautiful Canadian coast I was forced to realize that my husband would never be the same again; his dementia had become a full-blown reality.

Who I Am Yesterday is about my journey during the first year, more or less.  I describe some of the things I have learned that work for us, for me.  It also draws out some of the feelings I had while I learned to deal with this changed lifestyle; and how I conquered fear, sadness, frustration and a myriad of other emotions.

Those of you who visit my Alcove may have also read a blog or two or a poem or two which describe my continuing journey.   It has not been easy and there are many times I wondered why I thought I could handle the many aspects of caring for someone whose world no longer resembled the reality most of us live in every day.  It is difficult learning and internalizing that a person with dementia lives in a reality which changes with every passing minute.  It is, however, reality to them.  This, then, is what we will call an anniversary piece.

When last I wrote on the subject I explained what I had learned about how the mind affected by dementia “sees.”  In that piece, “Do you see what I see, do I see what you see, is it really there?” I explained some small part of how the brain works.  Although I have had access to a great deal of the information for some time, this was a moment when it really sunk in.  I somehow knew how he saw the things he did, even if I couldn’t.   At the time I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if it would give me answers for him or solve the problem, but that it did help me develop a bit more patience.

As it turns out it really was an epiphany.  This moment of insight lead to a point when so much of my frustration, anger and pain, well, released.  I know this is true because I have learned not to cry.  I still get emotional, my eyes will well up, I take deep breaths; but I don’t weep.  There were, after all this time, still some conversations (confrontations) that would turn me into a total basket case.  And now, well, they are just part of the day to day happenings that one must deal with.   Here is the story.

There appears to be a high probability that my husband dealt with some form of schizophrenia most of his life.  There were people that lived in his mind and nowhere else (or somewhere other than the present).  However, now he no longer has the faculties to keep these mentally constructed worlds separate.  As mentioned in my book, the walls in his mind are breaking down and he can no longer successfully tie a person to an event with any regular accuracy.  Most notably me.   When I began to internalize how he perceived the world and the people in it, I became far more tolerant of all these “extras” in our lives.

This is meaningful because now when he asks me where “he” or “she” or “they” went I come back with “You and I are the only ones here. I took you to the store, I cooked dinner, and I have been in the office all day…that was me.”  He is confused, and I must repeat, but there is a difference. He appears far calmer than he was when I would get gradually more frustrated and finally declare that I didn’t care who they were.  They didn’t belong here and I really didn’t care where they were now.

When you think about it, calmly explaining that things are as they should be and reassuring the individual that things are under control is far better than flying in a rage and screaming you have no idea who these people are, where they are or why they were here.  Now, however many times it takes, I carefully explain who is here, was here and did what.  Eventually he will quietly say, “I see.”   3…2…1 – “but where did he go?”  And so we start again.

The next lesson was harder.  Even more so because it was a lesson I had to learn earlier in life and seem destined, somehow, to repeat.  It’s not my fault.  There is a scene in Good Will Hunting when Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) tells Will Hunting (Matt Damon) a number of times, “It’s not your fault.”  At the time Maguire is looking through Hunting’s case file which shows the abuse he received from an alcoholic father.  “It’s not your fault.”  I cried when I saw it; I too had to learn, “It’s not my fault.”  Here I am again, learning the same lesson.

On occasion, when things would get intense between us and the agitation would build, he would declare he didn’t belong here, he would have to find somewhere to go.  This conversation might have started for any number of reasons but it often escalated because I didn’t have the time, or sometimes wouldn’t take the time, to focus on whatever his issue of the moment might be.  After repeating myself for a number of times I would run out of patience.  Things would end with me walking out of the room announcing that he could let me know when he found someplace to stay.  This is basically a kick in the teeth to someone who controls little or nothing in their own lives.

From his point of view, if things weren’t working he’d best move on.  Logically I knew he did not have any way of locating a place or of getting there.  There were even conversations with his eldest son about whether or not there was room for Dad in their home.  Gently, it was explained, no there wasn’t.  I usually tried to prepare my stepson for these conversations whenever I could.  His unbelievable patience was always there reassuring, but firmly saying no.  He helped keep things reasonably calm on a number of occasions.

I believe that another aspect of “this place” is his firm belief that there are all sorts of people that come and go.  One night he had me in tears from giggling because he was turning the bedroom upside down looking for pillows for me.  The ones on the bed were used by that other lady and he did not want me to be without.  He had even arranged the pillows on the bed to leave room for me next to him.  I found some pillows in a closet and let him know that if I got to bed and needed some, I knew where to find them.  He was finally able to settle down and go to sleep.  It was all I could do not to laugh out loud but I thought it was terribly sweet that he was concerned that all of his ladies had pillows. More importantly, if I saw that many people coming and going as they pleased, I guess I would want to move, too.

That, of course, was part of the key.  It wasn’t me he was running from.  In fact, there were times when he made it clear he wanted me to come with him.  He wanted to leave the ghosts in his mind behind.  He wanted to find a place where he had more control.  No, it was not my fault:  and suddenly the sad tears went away.

There are still times when I have to get very firm and a bit agitated to get him to break off from a subject.  Especially if there is absolutely nothing I can do at the moment or I am on the phone or trying to meet a deadline.  There are times when I get the definite impression that I am not me; so I quietly separate myself and let him work through it.  He is always glad to see me when I come “back.”  I do not expect things to suddenly seem just fine.  I do know that things are a lot less wearing on me and that does count in the dance of care giving.  It does, however, hurt far less because it is no longer personal.  It is part of who he is now.  I still have the moments when, near to tears himself, he tells me he loves me and doesn’t want to lose me.  To the best of my ability I intend to make sure he doesn’t.

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