Spring Cleaning. It sounds like clean sheets, dried in the yard with spring breezes. Sparkling glassware and light covers, dusted out corners, the annual eviction of spiders and bugs back into the yard where they belong. What a lovely euphemism for a process that sometimes requires back-breaking hard work, sentimental and heartbreaking journeys. “Why did we keep this?” “How can I ever let this go?” “Honestly, how much weight do I think I can lose before this becomes moth-dust?”
This year my spring cleaning takes on a different cast. A bit darker, and certainly a bit more stressful. For months my husband has been moving “stuff” from “his” room to the spare bedroom. Clothes he does not believe belong to him. Books and magazines he brought upstairs from the library below and now does not want. Small and medium boxes of the collected mementos of a long and somewhat colorful life.
When it was all said and done, we managed to haul off half a dozen bags of clothes, shoes barely worn, belts and ties, a couple of boxes of the previous dish set, a portable heater, the infamous exercise bike mentioned in my book, and other assorted tid bits to the lineup at Goodwill. Always refreshing when it’s all done but a bit of a chore in the process.
Spring also speaks to thoughts of migrations. The great seasonal movements of beasties that fly, crawl, hop, skip and even drive from one climate to another. Foraging, seeking mates, resting weary bones. It is a season that speaks of future things. Some bright, some sad beginnings of another stage in life.
I, too, am beginning a migration. It is one that I expected but that sneaked up behind me at a vulnerable moment and knocked me off my trolley. When it comes to the vagaries of dementia, recognition of family members seems to disappear early in the process. It did for us. That is, of course, the inspiration for the title to my book, Who I Am Yesterday. Now days he will sit by my side as I work and look at my Facebook page pointing to the photo of “Victoria Adams” and tell me, “If we could find her, boy, does she know what she is doing.” Then I guess I better get busy and find that woman.
Along with lack of recognition you know, deep down in your heart, there will come a day when you are no longer welcome in your own bedroom. So far, I’ve been lucky. In fact some nights it seems as though he cannot sleep until I am there. But, it has begun. There came a night when I was not welcome and, consequently, ended up on the couch. The next night when I was not recognized during my first attempt to retire, I was informed he was saving the spot for someone else. Fifteen minutes later he was in my office wondering why I hadn’t come to bed.
Our couch is not all that conducive to a good night’s sleep; especially with the disadvantage of arthritic bones. So, part of my spring cleaning adventure was to exchange the exercise bike for a standby, roll up bed. I’ve taken a liking to late-night Yoga anyway. It could not be something that would get him worried about extra visitors; but something that would give me a landing place should the need arise. Next stop – my office.
So another spring to clean out the corners, rearrange life and prepare for the next migration.