I'm sitting at the breakfast table with my first cup of coffee. It's early..around 5:30 am..early for this slug-a-bed. The house is quiet except for a few furry hungry feline faces wandering around my ankles. And it is cool enough that I'm wearing a sweater. I remember my dearest Aunt Katrina wrapped in sweaters as she grew old. And now it's me vacillating between burning up and feeling chilly.
It's daunting and overwhelming, this task of facing the reality of where I am in life's seasons. No one tells you early in life to be prepared for losses. You know at some level that some near and dear to you will fade away, that your parents will transition but the gradual losses can be just as big. My best friend, spouse, lover, partner of 55 years is no longer the companion I'd grown accustomed to as his memory and reasoning is more and more confused. There is so much loss with Alzheimer's.
We have both lost some of our independence. The big one for him is his independent mobility when his car keys were taken away. My loss is in time...my time is spent fixing his meals, driving him places, finding his missing date book, explaining once again how to use the phone, the remote to the TV. My independence has shrunk as he wants to go with me on errands, to shop, the postoffice. At times I feel like I'm drowning in "togetherness". I'm lonely but never alone.
And there are household tasks which each of us have had to give up...cleaning chores like mopping, scrubbing a tub, changing a light bulb in the ceiling. I love the ad on TV as the husband watches his elderly mate climbing a ladder to dust a high shelf.
The thing I miss the most are the long conversations about books, about relationships, government, politics, about all kinds of things. But a bigger loss is in the works. We need to sell our house. It is too big for us to care for anymore and I must plan ahead for what is to come with hubby's illness. Twenty years of crap to get rid of. Daunting and overwhelming and very sad. I will be giving up my studio full of art supplies and the potential of canvases and collages that might have been. The bedrooms and closets and kitchen are easy but letting go of special inks, brushes, paints, print-making tools, art books, exotic papers, glues, rubber stamps, ribbons, tapes, pencils, pastels and on and on is just so hard. They all have been such a big part of my life for so long, my best friend and lover. Of course, I will hang on to a small amount of paint and paper and glue but the rest has to go.
What to do with all those journals I created for the last 40 years...the stories of my life that I was going to use as poetry prompts?What to do with all the art work I've created? Canvases and drawings in closets and flat files? Sometimes I think it would be much easier to just walk away with a few clothes in a suitcase. Fly to San Miguel de Allende, Albuquerque, Asheville and never look back? Talk about a clean start. But back to reality, it is all about selling this house ASAP and I'm gonna need some help in finding the joy in this adventure