wings and things


on September 18, 2014

I used to miss the Anthony of the past terribly – the robust, energetic, boisterous, fun-loving Anthony with the loud laugh – and I still do of course. But lately, I’ve begun to realize that I also miss (and much more-so) the Anthony of now, the Anthony who still IS. In our mutual acceptance of the way things are now – his Parkinson’s disease, the nursing home, our forced “illness separation”, and even the increasing confusion and hallucinations that accompany his dementia, I now find myself anticipating my daily visits to the nursing home with what would, months ago, have seemed an impossible excitement.

The strange thing is that the feeling of obligation to visit Anthony for his sake, has been subsumed under a desire to visit him for my sake. The contentment of these long afternoons together, punctuated here and there by volunteer work, is something I never expected to happen. Okay, so boredom, apathy and fatigue are definitely risk factors here but I’m learning how to counteract the former two by coming up with new ideas whenever something begins to become tedious (like watching episodes of Neighbours!) The latter – fatigue – has been solved by this sudden flu which means I’ve been lolling on my bed for three days reading novels and resting, not allowed to go to the nursing home in case I’m contagious. So Ming and my mother have been visiting Anthony – wonderful creatures they are!

But I miss him so much! I have become so accustomed to these afternoons, this routine – the joy of his smile at the sight of freshly picked camellias (and me), playing the card game “Memory” with him and other residents, eating olives and blue cheese with him, or giving him a piece of my latest cake, helping him with his lunch and sometimes dinner too, watching television or a dvd, combing his hair with the metal comb he always loved that I only just found (and he is thrilled!) And so on. Tiny morsels of pleasure, once overlooked, now savored, now treasured. I have never looked at a camellia the way I do now – never! I have never noticed so acutely the beauty of a white peacock feather nestled in the arms of an avocado tree’s blossoms, a tree that is still providing us with plenty of fruit!

I don’t want to sound soppy and sentimental and goopy, but I do think Anthony and I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have found such a mighty love and I sometimes wonder whether this is why we are both now coping so well with what IS. Actually no, it’s not coping, accepting, persevering, or any other stolid adjective. Instead, a wonderfully weird happiness.

Resilience: Anthony has always had this and now it is as if he has gifted it to me.


35 responses to “Resilience

  1. Feel better! Lovely how you put everything into perspective.

  2. ksbeth says:

    i think it’s lovely, how you’ve grown to accept and look forward to your meetings, even though they are different from before, they are still very loving –

  3. mimijk says:

    Your love story continues – and your shared resilience and perspective inspire..

  4. Rhonda says:

    It’s a love of a lifetime…xo

  5. this was a very uplifting post–I am so glad you have found a kind of wonderful and grateful happiness–you have been through a lot but it sounds like you are coming out on top and intact

  6. You, and your wonderful love and heart, are so beautiful to me.

  7. I love this: “Tiny morsels of pleasure, once overlooked, now savored, now treasured.” Adversity does that to us, when we embrace change.

    And you don’t sound soppy, sentimental goopy. It’s a beautiful story. I’m glad you’re writing it. ❤

  8. Trisha says:

    Such a beautiful love story, yours and Anthony’s!

  9. This is just so beautifully stated, Julie, and as Mimi said, truly inspiring. Wishing you many more happy shared hours together….

  10. Terry says:

    You remind me so much of the stages I went through as Al progressed. Looking for every positive, trying to push away the thoughts of what is to come. I hope and pray you don’t end up like I did. Although I am beginning to heal it is still pretty tough. I got so involved with him that I forgot about me time and when Al passed I was totally lost. I wanted nothing more to do with anything that I had worked so hard to stay involved with him. I guess the pain was so deep I just froze in time. Hugs my friend

  11. susanpoozan says:

    You write so well, you deserve your happiness.

  12. Judy says:

    When I lost my mother to dementia, I felt like my “new mother” was a child of mine. I loved her dearly still; it was such a tough adjustment because I missed the mother who was able to talk to me and understand things. But the “new mother” I had was very special and her love for me never changed. Until the day she died, I felt her love and held so tightly onto that. Having that love was a treasure and you have that with Anthony. What a blessing that you are so aware of everything and coping in a way that is so uplifting!

  13. I shared your reaction to the life in the nursing home (with my mom). It became our new home, the staff and other patients our extended family and the bonds between my mom and me grew even stronger and deeper. I try to write about it in my essays, in the hope of making these facilities less foreboding, and this time in our lives less fearful. It is four years later, and I still miss all of it. I wanted to write after your last post; you are brave, your family is brave and I am thinking of you every day. With hope, Hallie from A Swift Current

  14. That is utterly charming to hear.

  15. This is a beautiful love letter to your marriage and your enduring love for one another Jules. It is so cherished and nurtured that it’s only right that you have developed the resilience to go the distance. My face has a huge smile and it is because of your post. 😀

  16. beeblu says:

    Out of the darkness comes the light. It’s amazing how we go.

  17. Colline says:

    This is true love. One that continues even though health has changed. You are truly blessed to experience it.

  18. janeslog says:

    Life changes and things may not be the same as before. Look on it as an opportunity to develop new skills and interests.

    If you want to hear how the Scottish vote is doing, listen to BBC Five Live on the internet.

  19. tootlepedal says:

    Please sound soppy and/or gloopy if you wish. We don’t mind at all.

  20. Oh Julie….this was perfectly beautiful.

  21. Tiny says:

    Simply beautiful. Get well soon!

  22. Beautiful Julie, just beautiful!
    Diana xo

  23. dogdaz says:

    You have a wonderful way of finding the small bits of happy in all the heavy moments of life. You are blessed.

  24. janeslog says:

    Met a woman campaigning for the ‘No thanks’ campaign when I was campaigning for the ‘Yes Scotland’ side while standing outside a polling station during the Scottish Independence vote.

    She is the Chairperson for the local Parkinsons group and my fellow ‘Yes’ campaigner who was with me is going to assist her in getting more funding for the group.

    The election result was unfortunately not the one I had hoped for so it will take me a while to get over it. So sad 😦

  25. Utterly beautiful! Incredibly inspiring! The love between the two of you just blows me away.

  26. this is the kind of love that lifts us up when needed and we can roll around in with big smiles! life is so much sweeter when shared with another that we can feel so utterly at home with no matter where we are. you continue to amaze and inspire me.

    sending warm hugs and love to you both

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