This is a guest post from Ada Gerard, whose husband has FTD, a form of dementia. Her blog is gotoyourcornersandcomeoutloving.BlogSpot.com.
Other than when he or I went on business trips, backpacking or visiting family, Gary and I were rarely apart for long periods of time.
We always came home to each other. In 30 years, I never considered that Gary and I would be alive but NOT live together. It never crossed my mind.
My husband is alive and being cared for in Memory Care. In looking at the situation, he appears to be settling in and has accepted his new situation. I have visited him for an hour or two every day to try and be with him but not confuse him. Tomorrow, I go back to work and will only be able to see him at night. Its a short window from getting off work and his bedtime. I guess its not different than before when I would get off work and come home. We were only together a few hours and then off to bed. Somehow, it is very different.
As I walk through our home, I look at his belongings differently. What should I do with his shoes? He still has dress Italian loafers….he will never need them. What about all the sandals and tennis shoes? My goodness, he had lots of shoes and still MANY more clothes that he will never wear. Do I keep them? Donate them? Sell them? Or just leave them where they are? What is my hurry?
I feel as if I need to be doing something…..all the time. I have had a few days rest and am now restless. Should I buy new furniture to replace our well worn furniture from 1985? No, I might need the money down the road. His care is very expensive.
I have seen stories and heard of women who keep their husband’s clothes because they smell like him. I rolled over in the bed last night and tried to smell his pillow to see if there was an aroma of him….nothing. Gary does not have a distinct smell and I recently washed the sheets so I cannot relate to that coping mechanism.
I try to plan my mornings and evenings in the new life. This morning I awoke at 6 am….I never would have done that before due to exhaustion. What will be the best use of my time? Reading? Exercising? Walking the dog? I sort of feel guilty that I am free to do whatever I want or need to do. I am also intelligent enough to know that it is okay.
I have to accept the fact that he will never be home. How long does the “new normal” take to find?