wings and things


on July 6, 2014

This afternoon Anthony was, as is usual now, in his armchair in his room at the nursing home and a bit confused. I put the heater on, zipped up his jacket, put a rug from home on him and changed the TV station to “Neighbours”. Anthony’s hands were cold, so I took the heat bag my friend Jen made and microwaved it for 4 minutes in the kitchen (staff let me come and go from kitchen area now), took it back and put it on his lap, placed his hands on it and put the rug on top.

Anthony was really drowsy – has been all week – but at one point I was able to rouse him (by punching him gently in the shoulder). His eyes were blank until they met mine and I said, “Ants, I love you more than anyone in the world.” Suddenly my eyes filled up with tears.

There wasn’t much response so I tried again, more shoutingly, “Anthony, I just told you that I love you more than anyone in the world, and my eyes filled with tears, and you ignored me!”

Anthony looked into my wet eyes, and his drooping mouth (caused by Parkinson’s disease) curved upwards into a smile. I realize that doesn’t sound like much but to get a smile from this previously jovial person who is now so disabled, is a small miracle. The only thing that annoys me about this smiling scenario is that I have to work very hard to get a smile out of Anthony whereas Ming just has to walk into his room and shake his hand and – BINGO – Anthony smiles – grr!

I’m so grateful for the decades of smiling we did before smiling became an effort for Anthony – not because of sadness but because of how PD affects the muscles of the face. So nowadays I come into his room with a huge smile every single day.

77 responses to “Smiling

  1. jensine says:

    I bet he is smiling at you on the inside … all the time

  2. Terry says:

    That was my big goal also with Al. To get one smile, just one, would make my day. Hugs my dear friend

  3. Such a bittersweet post, Julie. Stay strong.

  4. elizabeth says:

    These things are so painful, there are no words. ((hugs))

  5. Julie–are you happy? You sound happy–even if you have to shout (lol). You seem to be grabbing life by the horns and making it work for you!

  6. Rodney Dangerfield always said “no respect”! Caregivers are always the last ones to get the excitement and spontaneous hugs, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t loved, it just means that they are loved so much it gets taken for granted. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t frustrating. Argh. I love the fact that you have the run of the kitchen, it must make your visits feel more like home. πŸ˜€

  7. Your love and steadfastness makes me smile Julie! ❀
    Diana xo

  8. I just whole heartedly believe he is smiling in his thoughts and head. And heart.

  9. Another uplifting post. You teach us all to make the most of life. Your experience has also been useful in my daily work as a podiatrist.

  10. Colline says:

    His smile in the photo shows just how proud he is of his son πŸ™‚

  11. FlaHam says:

    Julie, soft smile, at least you get it, and you know it comes from depths of his heart each time he does. My my sweet friend is so so so worth it. Take care, Bill

  12. Trisha says:

    I’m glad you got a smile for your efforts.

  13. janeslog says:

    He’s smiling at you inside. It’s just that his face cannot always adapt to smiling.

  14. tersiaburger says:

    Yours is the ultimate love story. I love you for being so strong, wise, loyal and funny.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Julie, you are so authentic, brave and strong during such difficulties. I admire you. Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. I love that picture… in fact it brought tears to my eyes… Diane

  17. tootlepedal says:

    I am smiling too.

  18. Yeah the little things now make all the difference I know that from visiting my nan

  19. cecilia says:

    You, my darling girl are a Star, I mean – like you came down from a star in the heavens and now you are living on earth. You were chosen to see Anthony through this last chapter in his life, you have been given the rockiest of tasks and i think that is because you have starlight in your smile. You will get through this .. you and Anthony, with wonderful stunning dignity and grace.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thank you for making me feel better about myself because, to me, it seems like I have been neglectful of Ants. Ceci, it is getting harder as he deteriorates but friends like you mean a mountain! Jx

      • cecilia says:

        I know and It will get harder.. but remember you are a star – straight from the angels, a gentle consistent shine, not bloody superman! I hate his outfit anyway! c

      • jmgoyder says:

        I had to kill Baby Turkey a couple of weeks ago because he’d been mauled/injured by the dogs. It was late afternoon and darkish, rainy weather and Ming was away. Baby Turkey was perched on top of the fence of the chook-yard where all of the poultry slept. Once I’d put the poultry away and fed the peafowl, I let the dogs out of their yard, knowing that the birds were safe. Long story short: for some reason Baby Turkey dropped himself from his perch into the main yard (not the chook yard), and the dogs attacked him and then I had to put him down – so horrible Ceci and I can’t seem to get over this. J

  20. My Heartsong says:

    Got to watch that green-eyed monster, though i can easily understand. πŸ˜‰ So happy that you are going in smiling Sending you thoughts to keep your spirits up.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Haha – yes it is a little disconcerting when I have been sitting with Ants for hours while he is drowsing then Ming comes in for 5 minutes and it’s like party party party!

      • My Heartsong says:

        I visited my mom in nursing home after not being home for 4 yr and she greeted me then focused her attention on my niece who lives in the same city -awkward.

  21. ksbeth says:

    and hooray for the smiles )

  22. Vicki says:

    A genuine warm smile is a beautiful gift from anyone, but I can only imagine how priceless a smile from Anthony would be at this stage in his PD.

    I’m sure he is smiling within, every second of every day (even when you’re not there), as he was such a witty and laughter-filled person as you’ve often recounted to us (pre PD).

  23. bulldog says:

    I bet within he is just as much in love with you, and is now just struggling to show it… Sterkte…

  24. niasunset says:

    love and hugs to you dear Julie, nia

  25. Ann Koplow says:

    Julie. This post made my eyes wet, my face smile, and my mind think, a lot. Thanks so much.

    • jmgoyder says:

      This will probably sound odd, Ann, but I absolutely cannot wait to see Anthony every day. He has been in the nursing home now for 2 and a half years and it is the first time I have ever wantedd to spend time there.

  26. I just love this… it makes tears in my eyes and… makes me laugh because it’s funny-sweet… and so …heart-touching. Love, Gloria

  27. lensgirl53 says:

    This brought tears to MY eyes….oh, how I wish it were different for all of you. We can only guess what is on Anthony’s mind but I would be willing to bet he is trying to convey his love with all of his might. God be with you and especially Anthony.

  28. Judith Post says:

    Oh, Julie, it’s so hard to watch a person fade, but you and Ming do it so well. Your capacity for joy just amazes me. Glad Ming still lights up his father’s life. Kids do that. They’re bottled potential, and we can feel it.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thanks for this encouragement Judith because Ming is now reluctant to visit Ants so I use photos, like the one in this post, to remind Anthony,

      • Judith Post says:

        I can understand his reluctance. It’s hard to watch someone decline when you’re young and the whole world feels like it’s opening up before you. My grandsons visit my sisters, happily, and Patty takes care of my mom. Mom’s Alzheimer’s has reached the point that hospice visits a few times a week. The boys avoid dealing with that by focusing on my sisters. Young adults seem to feel immortal, and life’s problems aren’t quite in focus for them. But they’re so full of life and love, that’s to be expected, I think:)

  29. isn’t it just the best to know how many of those smiles and precious moments you have had over the years? there are times when chris comes into our bedroom and it is such a hard day that it breaks my heart to know i can’t even rouse to a simple smile. like you he comes closer and touches me and smiles and says he loves me. at those moments i could cry for being so joyous even without the smile. he knows it is there and will be again. if not, how lucky have we been to love each other to the moon and back with huge smiles that made people wonder what we were up to.

    i am sad for you that these changes are here. i want you to know that i share your longing and it breaks my heart.

    oh but you two have had so much and so much lays ahead. sending big warm hugs and love to you and your guys from me and my guy:)

  30. Keep Smiling! My heart and thoughts are with you.

  31. Keep smiling anyway; I LOVE that attitude.

  32. What can I say, except “Smile–it makes you happy.”

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