jmgoyder

wings and things

Resilience

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.

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