wings and things

Happy hours

on August 16, 2015

Anthony’s increasing ability to smile again continues to flabbergast me. This afternoon, I arrived at the nursing home and, on entering his room, saw that two of our best friends (a husband, F, and wife, J) were already there. J whispered to me that Anthony’s face always lights up when I come into the room. They are frequent visitors to Anthony, so they often see this but the fact that J said this to me really made my day.

J has a sense of humour that is slicingly clever and she has this ability to get straight to the point with a unique mixture of irony and kindness. When she invited Anthony to the movie she and F were going to see – about euthanasia – Anthony politely declined and I guffawed.

F (an old school friend of Anthony’s) constantly teases him about past girlfriends but this afternoon Anthony managed to eke out a couple of eloquent retorts and the mutual banter was a delight. I poured a couple of small glasses of wine (it’s Sunday!) then F and J left to go and see the euthanasia movie.

It was such a happy hour and I am so grateful for these friends who help to normalise the situation. J told me that when they arrived and asked Anthony where I was he told them I was hanging out the washing! I think this means that perhaps my presence in his room every afternoon (well, mostly) explains my absence in the mornings and nights. It is possible that he thinks I am doing chores, cooking dinner, possibly even gardening!

Now that I am over the whole tragedy-of-husband-going-into-nursing home, and now that Anthony, too, accepts the status quo and often thinks we are at home anyway, our afternoons are happy.

I usually sit on the side of Anthony’s armchair and we watch another episode of whatever television series I’ve acquired; he often sleeps the afternoon away; I sometimes socialise with the staff and other residents; cups of tea + cake are delivered; his pills are dispersed by his favourite nurse, D, who Ants calls his girlfriend.

When I was unwell last week my wonderful mother substituted for me and sat next to Anthony in his room, knitting, until he suddenly said “Are you going yet?” Hilarious.

And Dina, my decluttering friend, visited Ants on a day when she and I were supposed to be having brunch (but I was still bilious). What an incredibly kind person to do this for me!

The funniest of these many happy hours, though, are Ming’s visits to Anthony. Big, loud and assertive, he goes into Anthony’s room and, if Ants is asleep in his chair, Ming doesn’t wake him. But if Anthony is awake, Ming will lie on the bed and they will have a chat. It’s probably quite alarming for staff to come into Anthony’s room and see this great big hairy-legged boy-man-creature lying on Anthony’s bed with no care whatsoever about protocol or the cleanliness of linen.

Sometimes, when Ming’s and my visits to Anthony coincide, there is friction between Ming and me. I’m not quite sure why this is but he seems to relate better to Ants when I’m not there. And vice versa. Nevertheless, Anthony’s pride in Ming is overwhelmingly evident and he often ‘sees’ Ming in the corner of the room (hallucinations).

I’ve begun to appreciate every single hour, especially the happy ones. These hours more than make up for the desolate ones.

[Note to blogger friends: I am a bit preoccupied with above so haven’t been reading – sorry]


30 responses to “Happy hours

  1. I have been a bit preoccupied too. Decluttering after a month long trip to the Netherlands and Germany on our bicycles. when I came back I was very tired (1370miles) and the simplicity of cyclecamping needed to be translated into home life. you would have laughed at me trying to talk myself into disposing of stuff.
    lovely to hear ants can smile again

  2. frangipani says:

    Reading this makes me happy too! Glad things are going well.

  3. ksbeth says:

    you have found your balance once again. and what a happy hour it is –

  4. shoreacres says:

    This is quite wonderful. There’s something about routine that can be soothing and easy, especially when the routine is essentially pleasant. I love the thought of Ming’s visits, too. I can only imagine what some of the staff thinks!

  5. susanpoozan says:

    It is so great to read about all the support you get from friends and family, your husband must be a really special person to attract such care!

  6. As if we care about you reading as long as you keep writing! Love the smiles all through this post.. c

  7. Julie, it is your new home, your new reality – I love that. I also love that Ming lays in the bed with his dad and has wonderful chats. ❤
    Diana xo

  8. jensine says:

    enjoy those happy moments and don’t worry about not reading – we all have ‘real’ lives out there too! Glad you are feeling better and just take days as tehy come
    Big big hug from Ireland

  9. Julie ……. I sit here feeling emotion in my Heart. As I read above …. and ones before … you are a beautiful, good person. You and Ants remind me of Skip and I … and I would stay by his side just like you. I never thought any further than that I know I would be there everyday for him if he were at a nursing home. So when you wrote what you did … it made me stop to think about it.

    I could understand what you wrote above about: ‘Now that I am over the whole tragedy-of-husband-going-into-nursing home, and now that Anthony, too, accepts the status quo and often things we are at home anyway, our afternoons are happy.’

    I sat here, felt what you said and I could really feel, see, know what you meant. I’ve never experienced it … but somehow … I know what you are talking about.

    I felt like crying because of how special you are to always be there for Ants … you never gave up on him. So many people do, you know. You are loyal to the end. I am like you, Julie. I know you are special because ordinary people don’t think or do like this … they never think past themselves, their needs. Not that they are ‘bad’ … but, they can go on easily leaving someone to whatever while they keep chasing their own life.

    I would love to have had you as one of my family members in my life. Not that I would want anything from you … it would have been nice to grow up with people like you. People who no matter what … love, care, stay true. That’s real … that’s family … that’s special.

    You made my Heart feel happy for reading your post today. Most Heart-touching. Love, Gloria

    • jmgoyder says:

      I am so sorry for not replying to this beautiful comment earlier, Gloria. When I think of you, I always think of magnificence – the way you live life with such ferocious strength and joy despite everything you have suffered and still suffer. You are an inspiration to me xxxx

      • Julie, this is what I think when I ‘think of you’ … a special person who is real. Someone who sticks by another through the good, bad … beginning to end. You are the ‘good person’ everyone should want to be. You don’t have to be perfect … you are ‘perfect’ enough. This is what I think when I think of ‘Julie’. I have never seen anyone else stand by their husband as you do. You are like what I would do … I believe in. Love, Gloria I am honored by your words, and wish I could live up to the specialness in them.

  10. What a delightful post Jules Hugs!

  11. I’m so glad for you that Anthony doesn’t seem to be asking to go home all the time. It seems he recognizes that he is home… and that so much of the time you’re there with him…Diane

  12. tootlepedal says:

    I am sorry about the tensions between Ming and you but otherwise this is a very cheering post.

  13. Such happy hours indeed, live in the moment and don’t fret about what might happen it changes nothing

  14. Don’t apologize for not reading when you have Anthony to keep you entertained. 🙂 And thank you for continuing to share him with us.

  15. artfulanxiety says:

    Haven’t read much about Ming lately, how’s everything going with him? Acting? Driving everyone insane? So glad you can see a silver lining Jules. xx

  16. You have such a positive attitude Julie. It will always lead us out of our stress and into peace.

  17. Lisa Rest says:

    What a wonderful post. The old adage “Love Conquers All” pops into my head simply because I can’t think of anything else, but the fact that it’s spreading out to everyone who knows you and Ants makes it even more apropos. Of course the dynamic changes with Ming but that’s to be expected.

  18. Rhonda says:

    This makes me happy. And (personal opinion alert…) I’d rather see Ming remain himself with you than become some uber, smiley, mask-wearing, anti-teenager…as long as he doesn’t go over board with the growls and grumbles at you because he’s scared or frustrated about Ants…because then, you’ll know when something has changed in his life that will be revealed through changes in his attitude or posture…OR…you’ll begin to see him maturing and growing into the man he’ll be, for the same reasons. He’ll show you without realizing he’s doing it…and you’ll see it without having to ask. Does that make any sense? Either way…this makes me happy. Love you Jules…xoxox

  19. Judith Post says:

    I just love the mental picture of Ming sprawled on the bed besides Antony! He’s so uninhibited, it tickles me. What a great group you are!

  20. Trisha says:

    I love hearing about these happy hours!

  21. Terry says:

    Friends are wonderful aren’t they!! I don’t know about Ants and Ming. Maybe Ming wants to build up as close of relationship as he can with Ants, since he has PD

  22. Glad to know you are better! Smiles are an amazing gifts to anyone, but from a loved one they become the most amazing heart to heart gift. How awesome for you both that Anthony has been able to reclaim that heart gifting ability.

  23. Lynda says:

    ❤ 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤

  24. i so love reading about your lively, loving family. i can picture you sitting with that wonderful man of yours and just soaking up the memories you are making. the smile never leaves my face and i am grateful each time you share your story with us.

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