Wednesday, June 19, 2013

There's No Logic To It

I have a comforting vision of him: an angelic version of himself, come to visit me.

I read my blog posts of a year ago and I'm reminded of how very difficult life had become for us both. I realise all over again that we simply couldn't have gone on. I confront what it would have been like if he'd lingered — the inevitable slow decline — and I'm thankful we were both spared that.

People tell me I look well, and I point out that I no longer have the stress of being his carer. 'I have grief,' I say, 'But not stress.'

I go out for lunch with a couple of women friends. I enjoy the food and conversation. We laugh together. We make plans to start a meditation group. I become animated, suggesting how we might go about it.

'I'm back in life,' I think. 'I'm moving forward.'

But it's not a linear progression.

Suddenly I find myself thinking about a night last year when I had a glass of wine, and he wanted one too. I was scared to give him a full glass because I'd been given to understand it was dangerous for him, what with his Alzheimer's, his high risk of falls, and all the medications he was on. I gave him half a small glass. He sipped it with enjoyment. Then I could tell, from the look on his face, that he'd have liked a little more. Neither of us said anything, but we didn't have to. It was on both our faces: his wish, my fear of granting it, his resignation. All very sensible. I didn't know that the following night he would end up in hospital, and in only four weeks he'd be dead. 

So I think guiltily that I could have let him have that extra small glass he wanted. It wouldn't have hurt. It would have given him pleasure in the moment. And so on and so on and so on — even though I know I had no idea at that point that he wouldn't live for years, and I was looking after his long-term health. I cry and cry and cry about that glass of wine I denied him. (I don't suppose he himself remembered it even an hour later.)

And all this after feeling really good, really together.

Well, that is, except for the moment earlier today when, contemplating the prospect of my arthritis getting worse with age, and my family all far away, I was suddenly overcome with self-pity and screamed at him in my mind, 'Don't leave me alone!'

And that's what it's like. Sometimes I cry for him — for things that were hard for him when he was still here, even so trivially hard as missing out on a few sips of wine. And sometimes I cry for me, for having to live the rest of my life without him. 

Either can hit me after it seems that I'm making real progress — a sudden relapse for no obvious reason. There's just no logic to it.


  1. Hello Rosemary,

    I'm glad that your cold is gone. I don't know why some of us have this ability to feel guilty about things of the past, and I don't know if you have noticed it, but it's happens often when you start to feel a little happy. Guilty to be alive without them ? Probably !

    I hope your plans to start a meditation group will go on.


  2. Thanks, Grace, that's an excellent observation, which had not yet occurred to me!

    We have found a meditation group already existing, which is just what we want! :)


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