Front of "the Villa" my tiny house daughter Arline's place.
300 square feet works for one person.
The shakes used to be on the neighbor's roof!
The windows were left over from remodel projects, the front door from Craig's list.
Still not cheap to build nowadays.
I am so proud of them, it is amazing that I have any buttons left on my shirts.
Birth order names: Arline Marie; Lora Lea; Deanna Cheri; Linda Glee. The first was named after her two grandmothers, then we got the idea of making them rhyme!
In the picture, left to right Lora, Deanna; Arline and Linda/Lia.
The background is the corner of my tiny house in Washington State.
She put up a valiant fight against this horrible thing we call Alzheimer's. Of course, we knew who would win from the beginning, we did not know the time schedule.
I had not planned to be there at the end. But in late afternoon I decided to stay very late, maybe close to midnight if necessary. Daughter 1 was there with me and together we saw it happen.
The day before I could say: "Miriam I love you." She would answer in grunts. I could read what she was saying, we had a decent conversation. Yesterday there was no response at all.
Her breathing was labored, but she kept going. I went out of the room to call a friend and when I returned Daughter said; "mom is not breathing the same." I went to find the Aid who was in charge. She put her ear against miriam's chest and then went to get a stethoscope. When she came back and listened she just said: "She is gone."
The Aid, who is a wonderful woman who has seen and experienced much cried with us as we put the last details together.
We stayed until the funeral home people came and picked up her body.
This part is over and I am glad. Miriam did not need to suffer more, but now I am really alone and that grief will take a bit longer.
"I loved you Miriam. You were the light of my day and night."
When asked, the nurse said that the odds were that Miriam would not die tonight.
There is a degree of comfort there, but her struggle with this damned disease is about over. She won't make it to Christmas most likely.
A week from Sunday the family is gathering here for a "Mom Celebration." Whether Miriam will be alive is doubtful, but it is the family getting together to remember this dear person.
My emotions are all over the place. I am not sure of much of anything. When the Nursing Home requested that we make arrangements with the funeral home for the remains, it hit pretty hard that they, the professionals in this stuff, know our time is limited.
So we signed papers and made plans and now we sit and wait. I spent several hours with Miriam today, Daughter Arline spent more. Tomorrow we'll do it again.
She has been a wonderful person, a great wife and a sterling mother and grandmother. She is loved and cherished.
Once I gave her a note: "If Love were fattening, you would weigh a ton." She was loved and she loved in return.
I've posted this picture before.
Josh is now a Junior at the University of Southern California. I am exceedingly proud of him. I had Thanksgiving dinner with Josh and his family. It was good.
Miriam was such a beautiful grandmother!
A week and a half ago I was in SanFrancisco and then LosAngeles with daughter 3. It was a week trip that we had planned a long time ago.
Last weekend i spent many hours with Miriam. Not pleasant hours to be sure, but a good bit of time.
Since I saw her last she has forgotten how to feed herself. She will eat whatever is put into her mouth, and she swallows good.
When I was with her she spend most of time slumped over in what seems like a coma. Her eyes were often open a bit. She looks like she is sleeping, and she sleeps a good bit of the time, but sometimes she looks asleep but she is not. In the 10 to 12 hours I spent with her she rallied enough to talk to me a little. She said she loved me. I told her I loved her and that we had had a great life together. She agreed, then put her head down and went out again. That happened two times.
Sometimes those few seconds are all we have to live for. They are pretty precious. Mostly she does not talk, and when she does it is very quiet and impossible to understand, but her words make no sense either.
I am told she will soon forget how to swallow. That is about the end. We absolutely will not have a feeding tube put in, there will be no major effort to keep her alive. Keep her comfortable and out of pain and let her go.
For the most part I've settled into a rather dull routine.
About the first of each month I go to Washington to see Miriam. I am glad to be with her but as she deteriorates more and more it has its hard side too. She is getting wonderful care and I am glad. Gradually, she is curling up into this awful fetal thing, however.
Yesterday I had a surgery (minor I think). Hydroceleectomy. Curious? Look it up! So today I am laying low and will probably most of the rest of the week, at least. Doc says to figure on taking it easy for two months! Not sure I can do that very well.
Winter is not far away but my little corner is warm and comfortable. As soon as I feel up to it I'll continue work on the inside of the house. Right now I am still a bit dizzy from the Anesthesia and the pain pills, but that should go away.
I have been a saturday church goer all of my life, but recently I have began attending a nearby sunday church as well. Partly boredom, partly needing something to do (a church is a pretty safe place to visit) and it is also a bit of a social outlet. It is working out well for me.
This church has a pipe organ which I love to hear as well as some pretty good musicians. The pastor is a woman, whose husband is named Dave. Dave pastors two smaller churches in the area, so I don't get to see him. Kathy has good sermons that have a beginning middle and end pretty much on the same subject. I really like that!
So I muddle along, trying to keep busy and not let bad thinking or boredom take over entirely.
This blog began as a spot to vent about my life with Miriam and her time with Alzheimer's disease.
She was diagnosed in '99 and her decline has been quite slow. In fact some of our best years of our long marriage have been these recent years.
Alzherimer's, at least her version is a disease of waiting. One shoe drops and it can be a very long time before the other one drops.
So life goes on.
At the beginning of this blog I told the story of our courtship and marriage, about out family and our personal journey with this disease. The part that scares the most is the anticipation as the disease slowly progresses.
So, I will touch on that subject from time to time, but the entries will tend toward comments on life. I'll leave politics and religion for others to worry about, not that I don't have strong opinions!
I have my hands full just looking after my wonderful Miriam.
We met when we were 6, began dating at 15 and have been together since. We will have our 56th anniversary this June.
We have four wonderful daughters. Smart, independent, awesome. They have given us 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. None of them are little any more. The oldest is 28 and married, the youngest is 14.
Until this last fall we lived in a hosue I designed and built in the '70's and it is pretty weird and wild, but very comfortable. Last summer the girls came to the conclusion that I really did need help dealing with Miriam. Now we live on a couple acres with daughter 1.
Life has been good. There is not much I would do different even if I could. We are rich beyond belief but chronically short of cash!
And, unless stated otherwise all the photographs are mine.