jmgoyder

wings and things

Imagined conversation 26

Anthony: What’s with all the new clothes?

Me: Retail therapy.

Anthony: What’s that supposed to be?

Me: Forget it. You wouldn’t understand.

Anthony: I like it. You’re looking particularly well groomed these days.

Me: Why thank you, kind sir.

Anthony: Stylish even. You’d be a knockout if you wore higher heels.

Me: Oh for God’s sake, you can forget that.

Anthony: The red boots are, well, they’re very red aren’t they.

Me: So? I bought them before you died but I never got to show you so every time I wear them I feel a bit of a pang of disappointment.

Anthony: They look good, Jules, I’m only teasing.

Me: I kind of bought them for you actually, indirectly.

Anthony: A likely story.

Me: No, really. I used to like the way you liked the way I love my boots.

Anthony: You definitely have a fetish for them.

Me: Not so much now.

Anthony: Isn’t it about time you bought some new ones?

Me: What? I can’t believe you’re encouraging me to spend money.

Anthony: You can use my money. I don’t need it any more.

Me: Wow, you’ve changed. What happened to the tightwad I married?

Anthony: He turned into a butterfly.

Me (laughing): You crack me up, Ants. Okay, well I don’t need much encouragement so what colour do you suggest?

Anthony: Purple and white polka-dots?

Me: You are insane!

Anthony: Why not?

Me: I’ll google it. Ah here we go. What do you think?

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Anthony: Not bad. What do they cost?

Me: Let me see … $5,200.

Anthony: [Pause]

Me: Are you there?

Anthony: I’m in shock.

Me: Yes, so am I so don’t panic. I’m not that self-indulgent and I can’t imagine who is. Okay, how about these?

LUNAR-POLKA-DOT-WELLY-PURPLE-01

Anthony: How much?

Me: Around $40. But they’re gumboots.

Anthony: They really are ‘you’ though, aren’t they.

Me: You think?

Anthony: Different.

Me: Are you sure?

Anthony: Why not?

Me: Thanks but I’m really very tempted by the first pair – the more I look at them….

Anthony: Jules, come on.

Me: You are so gullible.

Anthony: I’ve broken into a sweat.

Me: I bet!  I wish I could buy you something – anything, even a slice of black forest cake or a dozen oysters.

Anthony: Plenty of that here.

Me: Really? Oh, of course. I know, but I used to love buying you presents and treats and stuff.

Anthony: You’re too generous.

Me: It was fun.

Anthony: Tell you what, buy the gumboots for me. Indirectly.

Me: Sold!

Anthony: You’re a burster, Jules.

Me: I can’t believe purple and white polka-dot boots even exist. How could you have possibly known?

Anthony: I’ve become a fan of google too.

Me: Now I really am shocked! But you don’t even know how to turn a computer on.

Anthony: I do now. I’m one step ahead of you. Now buy the boots. Right now.

Me: Your wish is my command. Thanks, Ants – this is so enjoyable!

Anthony: It is, isn’t it.

 

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Imagined conversation 14

Me: You won’t believe it, Ants!

Anthony: Try me.

Me: I went kayaking today!

Anthony: You what?

Me: I went kayaking! I had a lesson with this lovely guy and I only fell out once, when I was first getting into the thing.

Anthony: What lovely guy?

Me: The kayaking instructor.

Anthony [pause]: Okay….

Me: I think I might even buy a kayak, Ants! What do you think?

Anthony: You’re a bit impulsive, Jules.

Me: No, I’m not, Ants. I kayaked for three hours and I loved it!

Anthony: You’re a burster, Jules.

Me: Well, that’s a good thing isn’t it?

Anthony: Be careful.

Me: Why? I’m not scared of anything anymore. You’ve already died.

[Note to readers: It is now over six months since my husband, Anthony, died from pneumonia, after years of being in a nursing home with advanced Parkinson’s disease dementia. Since then, I have battled a couple of severe bouts of major depression (a condition I already had), with the addition of grief rendering me almost as bedridden as Anthony was in the end. But, with the help of my psychologist, and my own determination, I’ve begun to embrace new adventures, and kayaking is one of these. The imagined conversations are just that – imagined. I miss talking to Ants, so I do it here.]

 

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Imagined conversation 13

Me: I did something a bit spontaneous today, Ants.

Anthony: That’s unusual, Jules.

Me: I bought myself a silver bangle – from you to me. It’s kind of a combination of a Christmas and birthday present. It’s nothing to do with Valentine’s day, I promise.

Anthony: Thanks for letting me know.

Me: Oh thank you so, so, so, much for it, Ants. I love it!

Anthony: My pleasure, Jules, you deserve it.

Me: Well, yes, I think I do too because you know the last few years when you always asked me to go and get myself a silver bangle for my birthday….

Anthony: I’m glad I could be of service.

Me: No, you don’t get it Ants, I only pretended to buy myself those bangles because I didn’t want to spend the money.

Anthony: What a good disciple you are.

Me: Yeah, so I would wear an old bangle that you’d bought me years ago, and you bought me heaps, remember? You even chose them.

Anthony: I have impeccable taste. You tend to like chunky, showy jewellery.

Me: That’s a horrible thing to say and not true at all!

Anthony: I prefer the subtle nuances of the bracelet myself.

Me: Anyway so I was having a coffee in town at a new place (I’m trying to get out and about more because that’s what people keep telling me to do) and I just happened to look up and there was the shop – Baroque Design Jewellery Studio – and, whammo, I felt this sudden, nostalgic urge that you wanted me to go there.

Anthony: I had nothing to do with it, Jules. You have an overactive imagination.

Me: Are you sure? I mean the urge was so strong and I walked in and reminded Tim that I was the girl (yeah I know I should have said ‘woman’ not ‘girl’, how embarrassing) who used to come once a year to buy a silver bangle, or bracelet, as a gift to myself from my adoring husband who wasn’t well enough to accompany me.

Anthony: A likely story.

Me: Are you even listening to me!

Anthony: Sorry – wondering when you’re going to get to the point. Is it afternoon tea time yet? I’d love a coffee.

Me: As soon as I saw the silver cuff I knew it was the one.

Anthony: The one what?

Me: The bangle that you would have wanted to give me….

Anthony: I’m sure it was, Jules….

Me: So I explained to Tim that the reason I hadn’t been into his shop for a few years was because you weren’t well and you were in a nursing home.

Anthony: I remember him – great bloke.

Me: I didn’t tell him I’d been wearing bangles you’d bought me years ago, pretending they were brand new.

Anthony: You didn’t tell me either.

Me: Well, I’m telling you now! So that’s why I figure I am kind of owed around four years worth of bangles maybe.

Anthony: Interesting logic.

Me: And then I told Tim you’d died and could he give me a discount for being a bereaved widow. I didn’t really mean to say that, it just popped out so I explained that you’d taught me the art of bargaining, or is it bartering, and he said you’d be proud of me and he knocked off a third of the price!

Anthony: Amazing.

Me: It’s not amazing; it’s amazing! Are there any exclamation mark classes where you are because you really need to lift your game.

Anthony: Show me the bangle and I’ll give you my opinion.

Me: See? Here it is, Ants. It’s a cuff; I’ve never had one before. Thank you!

Anthony: Why are you so excited?

Me: Because you gave me a gift and it marks the first year of me surviving without you.

Anthony: I actually haven’t been dead for a year yet but, what the hell, you’re right, Jules, it’s a lovely piece of work. Get it engraved.

Me: Really? Are you sure? So, something like ‘To my darling Julie, with all my love, from her eternally-besotted husband, Anthony’?

Anthony (laughing): No.

Me (laughing): What then?

Anthony: Just our initials will do.

[Note: Tim Cunningham is the jeweller at Baroque. He was so kind to me today. Perhaps he sensed that just underneath my excitement at buying the silver cuff was the devastation of having lost the physical presence of Anthony. Anyway, I asked Tim if it would be okay to share his website here and he said yes so here it is: baroquedesign.com.au]

 

 

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Dementia dialogues 26

Anthony: I saw her in the corridor … earlier….

Me: Who?

Anthony: Julie – it was Julie.

Me: I AM Julie, Ants.

Anthony: Yes … it’s extraordinary.

 

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Dementia dialogues 9/10

Me: How come there’s water all over the floor? Did you tip your drink out again?

Anthony: Yes, because everybody is dead.

Me: What?

Anthony: This is a funeral home.

Me: No way! This is a nursing home – remember?

Anthony: All of the kids ….

Me: Are they still bothering you?

Anthony: I had to fight one last night.

Me: Did you win?

Anthony: Half and a quarter….

Me: Good on you, Ants! They won’t be bothering you again, I’m sure.

…………..

Anthony: Well come on, Jules – let’s go.

Me: Where?

Anthony: Around the block.

Me: Which block? The farm or the nursing home?

Anthony: The rose garden.

Me: What rose garden?

Anthony: Along the driveway!

Me: It’s too rainy and cold, Ants – sorry. Maybe tomorrow?

……………

The last several weeks have been a bit of a challenge for me because my anxious/depressive tendencies roared into my brain – WHAMMO! – when I mistakenly thought Ants was on the brink of death. I don’t want the knife edge of that grief again and am hoping that I am now better prepared.

Me: I saw an advertisement on TV the other day about cremation versus burial. What do you reckon? You know what I mean? For both of us of course.

Anthony: It’s far too early to think about that.

Me: Okay, Ants.

Anthony: There’s something ….

Me: Is it to do with my exquisite face?

Anthony: I wouldn’t go that far.

Me: What?

Anthony: But it’s quite nice, I suppose.

Me: Harrumph!

 

 

 

 

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Having fun!

At 8pm tonight, I rang Anthony’s mobile phone and it was answered by a nurse and handed over to him. I have tried 8pm many a time (my method is to let the phone ring 11 times, hang up before it goes to the message bank, then try two more times in the same way).

Anyway, tonight I got to talk to him just as the nurses were putting him to bed. He was articulate, lucid, content and said he looked forward to seeing me tomorrow. It was such a normal conversation, he wasn’t in the least demented or delusional or distressed and his voice was so clear!

I have no idea whether he had been given what I call ‘the emergency pill’ (a sedative) or not, but it was such a relief that he was okay because I had been feeling guilty all day for not seeing him today.

The main reason I didn’t go in today was because I had a migraine. This was partly due to the relief of hearing that my niece was out of her spinal brace (extreme relief seems to trigger migraines with me), but also because it was my birthday yesterday, I’d had a fantastic lunch with my ma and Mingy.

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Then, in the evening, a heap of friends came over and it’s quite possible that I may have over-indulged in champagne and stale pizza.

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When it began to rain, we all came into the kitchen and, with the music, loud conversation, and drink-clinking, I was reminded of those long-ago days when I first met Anthony, the kitchen throbbing with life, the stereo blasting, the absolute sense of unrestricted fun.

And for a moment, I basked in the memory of my adventure into the heart of Anthony. His sense of fun was always contagious – absolutely – and now of course he can no longer be a part of this sort of frivolity because he is too sick, too incapacitated, too confused.

I think one of the main reasons I fell in love with him is because he transformed me from a shy, intense, introspective teenager into a person who had the capacity for fun! He didn’t even know it was my birthday yesterday and he thinks he has only been in the nursing home for a few weeks (it is nearly 2 years), and of course he doesn’t know we had the impromptu party last night.

More than anything in the world, I miss his loud laugh, his wild sense of fun, his gregariousness and life-of-the-partyness, his twinkling eyes when he glanced at my flustered face, his amazing hugs and huge strength of being, of character.

Anthony has given Ming and me a huge appreciation of having fun despite all of the odds, and, for this, I thank him to the sky.

Of course I also thank the fantastic friends who came over last night!

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