I was nervous about Miriam coming to our Idaho house.
That sounds dumb. This was her home for as long as it has been mine. But with AD and her lack of cognitive skills, I was not sure it would work out well. As is often the case, she is better to the daughters than to me. To me she began about as soon as she walked in the door.
"What have you don't to MY house?" "Why don't we live here, I like MY house." etc. There are just a few questions, but they are asked again and again. In bed last night, she would not stop. She kept repeating the same lament.
In a lot of ways she is right and she really does have a good reason for being sad about it all. All of us are, to some degree, What I see as the beginning of a new adventure, she, in her foggy AD mind, sees as calamity. I remind her that her mother died 17 years younger than we are now, that her father was an invalid by the time he was our age and that he came to live with us when he was in his late 60's. I reminded her that neither my mother, father or step father lived as old as we are now. We are older than we sometimes think.
Last evening the 4 of us who are here were looking around(daughters 1 and 3 drove in yesterday - today daughter 4 arrives by plane, and daughter 2 will arrive by car). We spent some time looking through a pile of Miriam's watercolor paintings. They were exquisite.
We decided that there is enough there, of superb quality to mount a true retrospective show. There is a gallery at the small University in our new town and we know the people in charge of the gallery. We are going to see if we can have an art show.
This collection of her paintings reminds us of what a wonderfully skilled artist she was. This week I was interviewed for an article in our church newsletter. When i was asked if I had any regrets, I said that I so wished I could have gotten her into a good art school when she was 20 or 21, rather than at 46 or 47.
Today we will photograph all of the paintings, so we have a digital record to share. Then we will carefully pack them into cases waiting for that art show.
I have very fond memories in and around this house. Our kids were near teens or teens when we moved here. My mom wanted me to build this house so I could have a place for my girls. Later it was grandkids.
Happily, Miriam and I have spent countless hours reading to our kids and grand kids. We don't regret a moment of that time.
This is a particularly poignant photograph. Miriam, long before AD, reading to Emily, who is now 17.
I will miss the house, but the memories are mine to keep.
Arline (#1) will arrive from Washington State with Miriam, and later Dea (#3) will arrive from California. I spent yesterday going through stuff in Miriam's office. Left her a box of things that she can pour over and through for a long time. There are letters from her mother, uncles and aunts, her sisters and so on. Many of those people are not with us any longer.
This morning I am going to set a bathroom vanity cabinet for a friend. That is what friends do! They have been friends for a LONG time and have helped here more than once. That should not take too long.
Then it is back to loading boxes, making trash and wondering what to do next.
The new owner of the house, a good friend, says to leave what we don't want to take and he will consider it a treasure hunt! We won't leave it a mess, but we will leave him a good bit of "treasure."
By tomorrow night all 4 of our daughters will be here for a few last days. They grew up in this house. It is the only house I ever owned. We have wonderful memories, all of us. It is a time to put things together and to remember and maybe even shed a tear now and then.
Then it will be over and we will move on to the next part of our crooked lives!
I went for a little walk the other day.
The dam that created the reservoir where we were camped was at the end of a 5 mile hike. So i did it. By the time I got back it was getting pretty hot, which worried some of my friends. I had water, I was OK.
I wanted to see if I could still walk/hike that far and I can!
I am in Idaho in our house. The camp trip was good and my batteries are charged.
Last night Jim, the new owner, stopped by. He and I are on the same page about so many things. He will be good to the place and it to him.
Today I am packing Miriam's office/studio. It is the space where she worked for half a dozen years before AD. It will go better if I can get it cleared out before Miriam arrives tomorrow.
Now if I could just sleep well. Some one said that good sleep is the sign of a clear conscience. By that rubric I am in deep trouble.
The powers have decided to run a piece about us in the church news letter. Our finger prints are all over the church: Stained glass; sign out front; cabinets; book cases, wood work etc. etc. I resisted the article, but finally agreed. My friends know we are leaving. Other wise I wanted little comment.
Before this week Miriam and all of our daughters will be here. Partially they are here to divide some of the art and craft items that we cannot take with us. They are also here to pay respect to the house where they grew up. They will meet Jim and Veronica and I know they will be at ease about the house.
My guess is that cracker box house have less attachment. It is these weird, wild nutty places that seem to tug the most. The house was pure 70s when built, but since then I have picked up motifs and ideas for the inside from the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century.
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.