When reflecting on Dale’s recent changes, I’ve thought, “Our moments keep getting shorter.”
For most of Dale’s disease, we shared the present. Despite the losses of memory and language, we could be together in the moment. But this is waning now, too. Times of recognition and meaningful exchanges are brief and less frequent.
Our moments keep getting shorter.
When they occur, it is like being surprised by beauty…like looking up and seeing a glorious cloud formation, or a rainbow, or a spectacular sunset. In these moments I am suddenly stopped in my tracks. Fully present. In awe.
Such a moment happened earlier this month, on the evening of our 36th wedding anniversary.
Dale tires easily and goes to bed early. However, he doesn’t always rest easily. Confusion increases. I often see him pointing up toward the corners of the room, saying things I don’t understand. Sometimes my presence seems to disturb rather than comfort him.
When I went in the bedroom that evening, I found him awake and making eye contact with me. I knelt beside the bed so we could be face to face. His eyes were clear and focused. He smiled and said, “You’re pretty!” I thanked him and told him I loved him. He returned the “I love you” but soon his attention was elsewhere. I held his hand and he looked at me again, saying, “You’re pretty!” and then “I love you” in response to my saying it. For some minutes we were together like this. Together in our moments. Connected in love. A precious anniversary gift.
“Sometimes you picture me, I’m walking too far ahead
You’re calling to me, I can’t hear what you’ve said
Then you say, ‘Go slow’, I fall behind
The second hand unwinds.
If you’re lost, you can look and you will find me
Time after time.
If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting
Time after time.”
From Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” the song we selected as “ours” and danced to during our wedding reception, June 2, 1985