Today as I was leaving a coffee shop, I spotted Spiderman's mask on the floor. No really I did! A little boy had dropped it. All is fine, we got the families attention and the city is safe (even though I just let the cat out of the cobweb and told you that Spiderman is a little boy in Stoughton!)
Tonight I waited for something to happen that I was sure was a sign. It didn't. So I'm tugging off my mask of "Woman on the Edge of Hum Drum" and I'm introducing myself, and you to my inner Super Hero.
This is what I really want to do:
I have decided to live with my husband rather than be with him and the Alzheimer's. We are going to live with it rather than waiting to die from it.
David has no choice, and I have the privilege of choice. I have been balancing full time work with full time care. Now I'm taking a risk and placing my work to one side to focus and explore Alzheimer's. To see how I can support David and hopefully, inspire other young couples who receive the same diagnosis. I want to face this boldly, instead of with fear. Wear the lipstick instead of the frown. At the very least, I want our final years together to be full of love, laughter and occasionally joys. Not appointments, pills and hushed words of loss.
I know I cannot reverse the illness. I wonder though if I can find methods of easing some of the challenges?
Alzheimer's is effecting a greater number of younger people. A fifty something energetic male with the illness is not similar to an eighty year old Grandmother, yet the approach to care is the same. Our 50 year olds are not going to find support and motivation playing cards in a day center.
An energy I can't explain is encouraging me forward to use this time as an opportunity. I will not have an illness take my husband’s spirit in front of me, and it be for nothing. Whether it is a lesson, an inspiration or an example of love. There has to be a purpose found in our pain.
So, that's my do over. After four years, I admit I am emotionally and physically drained. Yet I want, need, to re-energize myself to find the strength and courage. When I want to celebrate ten years of marriage this May, and David is not too sure who I am, how do I still say the word celebrate?
I want to learn how. I will learn how. Care to join me?