We look at the world; the world looks back at us. Some call me brave. Brave? Far from it but I do accept responsibility. They call us a loving couple and that we are.
“Oh, Bert looks so well, you would hardly know he has Alzheimer disease”. If only they knew. I choose to accept the compliment on behalf of both of us, after all carers get so little thanks, if any.
“How can you write so positively about your situation?” I choose to do so. No, I do not have a Pollyanna complex. Rose coloured glasses obscure too much. I have to see clearly not just for me but also for my Bert. I hurt. Of course I do. However, I am grateful that I do see the glass half full and have been blessed by an offbeat sense of humour and with a partner who makes me laugh.
“You are a Saint.” Hah! Leave that sobriquet to Mother Teresa. There are times when I must be more akin to the devil incarnate. Have I experienced bitterness? Yes, but as Norman Vincent Peale said: ”Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Sure I will have negative thoughts; they come with the territory, but I hope they are not bitter.
In 2018, the learning curve reached a peak. We sit on a plateau not knowing when the change will come. Will it be again upward or will it be a downward helter-skelter tumbling into the abyss? More than likely it will be a combination of upward learning as we tumble ever downward. I choose to let the future be, holding on to the present and refusing to be weighed down by the past. 2018 taught us we can live, differently yes, but live nonetheless. This is neither bravery nor sainthood, just accepting the things we cannot change.
In 2018 I learnt banging my head against the wall only results in a headache. Therefore I count to ten or maybe twenty or maybe… I must be long past a million by now.
In 2018 I learnt that I am actually quite pragmatic as I know I have to acknowledge the darkness. I have to grant how awful, how evil, how depressing this disease is. Yet I must also look for the infinitesimal spark of light within that darkness.
2018 taught us to live by smalls, like small mercies, small moments, small comforts, and small miracles. We learnt to wonder at the beauty of one song within the symphony, one iridescent droplet after the rain, one star within the constellation. In a shrinking world our universe expanded.
In 2018 I would sometimes awaken with tears streaming and fall into a chicken and egg reverie. Are these tears of joy for a rare good night’s sleep or is the sadness deep in my soul finding release? I try to unravel the conundrum while in my suspended animation shifting between waking and sleeping I endeavour to decipher the meaning of the tears.
The yin and yang are played out in every way thinkable every day. It seems that happiness and sadness are always holding hands, walking in tandem and interlaced with uncertainty. What’s next is an ever present question and the answer is always we do not know.
The Meander: As a new year dawns I promise myself that when I see myself sliding into the slough of despair I will ponder the imponderables: How can there be darkness if we do not know light; how can we know good if there is no evil. I can be joyful because I am intimate with sadness.