These back to back art shows in Raleigh have been so exciting and uplifting for me. As a caregiver, it’s imperative to survival to keep moving forward to stay positive. In the past, Jerry was the extrovert, off the cuff person. I was the introvert, behind the scenes, analytical person. Now, the rolls are reversed. While it is energizing to put on these shows and meet people, I am still an introvert at heart. Think way too much. Verbalize my thoughts way too much. THUS, THIS BLOG!
Sunday, after church, was the only day to visit with Jerry this week. My normal schedule is every three days, but this time it had been a full week. Deviating from the schedule usually gets me into trouble. I was tempted to stay in my own positive world, away from him, avoiding reality. But my heart told me I had to go. The drive to New Bern is two hours. Two hours of thinking! Down and back.
When I arrived, Ro, my favorite CNA was on duty. (I have lots of favorites.) We all probably wondered if Jerry would recognized me. When I walked through the doors, Jerry saw me and his eyes lit up. He reached out his arms and walked toward me and we embraced with bitter- sweetness again. Sweetness that he knew me, bitter that it was in this way . I was particularly emotional because it had been so long and I was reminded again of how much I missed him. It never goes away. I was still able to take Jerry out but soon realized that these types of ventures may be coming to an end. We went to our pizza place but this time it was more difficult. He was more confused and it was hard to get him to sit down. He didn’t know what to do with that booth or chair and once seated, he kept getting up. Thank heavens the place was empty. The waitress was so kind. After the confusion of getting him seated, I tried to make small talk to keep his attention. There was no response. But then I said, “I went to church today.” He burst into tears. THAT KILLED ME! It was as if he had lost a child or something. It told me that those things that he holds dear are still within him.
OK. Onto positive thoughts. Before going back, we drove over to the park and I put on an oldies station. Jerry, immediately perked up and we threw a small football. He loved that! He even ran a few steps and threw a spiral! I let Montana go and we played “keep away” from her. It was a beautiful 15 minutes. Whew!
The drive back forced me to think forward. I couldn’t stay in the Jerry mode. (otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to drive.) I’m hoping to think of ways to have more effective visits. Maybe visit during an activity, or forgo the eating of a meal. Maybe just a ride to get ice cream, then to the park. Keep the music going, so we won’t get melancholy. Keep the visit short, between 30 minutes and an hour. Avoid staying too long, so that we don’t get too connected. Hmmm. There I go analyzing again!