The holidays. A rollercoaster ride of special sparkly moments and dark moments of despair. Maybe not despair, exactly. More like tharn. I love that word (by its original definition in Watership Down). In any case, holidays can be a bit of a ride. Most of the time, I try to seek out the things that tickle me. Such as my own private wine concierge.
While my husband and I were living in Calgary, we rented a home that had a jet tub. It was a lovely, huge thing with built-in jets. Since I am one of many with chronic back pain, this was my landing place when I returned from work each day. My dear husband would bring me a glass of wine and set the table for dinner while I read and massaged a sore back. Because I had mentioned this ritual at work at some point, my co-workers and I shared a goodnight that included something to the effect of “time for bubbles and wine.”
Then came May in 2011 when sometime between getting up to rush to the airport and arriving in Victoria, BC, my husband’s mind went away – forever. Which changed the whole game. On our return I was informed that he always brought wine to “her” while “she” was in the tub. Did I want wine? Was this kind okay? It’s “hers,” you know. However, the tradition held.
Then we moved back to the States and the jet tub became a memory. I still, however, require some hot water therapy to ease my back at night. And, for more than a year, the tradition continued. When that time of day came (occasionally before), he would come into the bathroom with a glass of wine. Sometimes it was mine, sometimes “hers;” in any case it arrived.
Then some subtle changes started to take place. He couldn’t remember if he had presented a glass, so another would show up. Or, I would expect one and one would not appear. Or, I would ask for one and instead I would get a wine glass with juice – or an iced tea glass of wine. If I asked for it there was some confusion about what it was I was asking for. I couldn’t just go pick up the glass that had been there since breakfast, no, no, he wanted to bring it. I finally arrived at the conclusion that it arrived or it didn’t and if it didn’t, well what’s another half dozen (fill in over the counter pain thing).
One morning this past week, however, we added a new trick. I am usually out of the shower by the time he is dressed and ready for breakfast. On this morning I was a bit slow and he waved as he passed the bathroom door. Then he returned. With a glass of wine. Wine in the shower. At 5 in the morning. Interesting concept. But, well, I prefer coffee. Sigh. Somehow the sorcerer’s apprentice has managed to bewitch my personal concierge!
It is times like these that I get tickled. Somewhere in that mind of his he remembers something precious he wants to do for me and my comfort. It just doesn’t make it out into the real world in quite the same shape it used to. It is also these moments that I tuck away, well cling to. Then when I really want to run out into the street and scream obscenities at the universe about the insanity of it all – I can enjoy a private chuckle about the insanity of it all.
So, there you have it. A tale of love that somehow manages to survive identity crises and moments of incomprehension. Oh, and no. I did not drink an entire ice tea glass of wine before dinner. If dealing with dementia is part of your life, you should check out my little book, Who I Am Yesterday. It’s a place I share what has worked for me, and what hasn’t, as I learn to be a caregiver and still be me. Whoever I may be.