Ocrakoke-That Vision, an Alzheimer Journey

Once my battery was fully charged, I felt the urge to go to the beach where I had that vision.  In the back of my car were canvases, a limited supply of paint and a couple of brushes.  Once I got out of town, there were no cars on the long stretch of road; only a few bikers.  There really weren’t any particular thoughts in my head, no agendas, no things I wanted to accomplish.  Didn’t really know why I was going.  Was I going to have some epiphany or something?  Probably not.

When I got to the end of the 14 mile road, there was no one there, accept a few cars waiting to board the ferry for Hatteras.  The sky was very solemn and a little bit gray and overcast.  The dunes were a little dull.  I changed to my old blue crocks and with canvas under my arm and a yellow bag of paint slung over my shoulder, I headed out over the dunes.  There was a path there.  The same path where Jerry would not walk two years ago.

That day, I kept telling him to come on and walk the beach with me.  He would grumble and move forward a little at a time.  That day was clear and cloudless and the sand was white with rows of washed up seaweed.  I just knew I could find some old relics that had washed up or some old driftwood.  Jerry didn’t want to cooperate.  It was so frustrating and I know my anger got the best of me.  I remember wanting to scream with frustration.  “Why?”  I’m so sorry, now, that I probably hurt his feelings?  I didn’t understand then, what I do now.  I remember, I just kept walking.  He would stand there at the edge of the dune, this time on the beach side of the dune.  He would walk only a few yards, but would not come with me.  I would look back and see him standing there, then I would continue to walk along the water’s edge looking down at the sand.

Today, I sat on that dune.  It looked the same.  I propped my canvas on my knees and began to paint that memory.  For some reason, as I was drawn into the painting, the melancholy feelings began to fade.  I realized that the repentance and repair of silly arguments were like building blocks on an unbreakable relationship.  And even though his existence is different now, our relationship is still unbreakable.  Not even Alzheimer’s disease can break it.

As I rode my bike into town, my spirit was all full.  For some reason, I realized that I was peddling fast and my hands were up off the handlebars.  I was balanced!

At Dajios, I went to the same patio for seating.  My same waiter was there.  I saw a bunch of women sitting in the corner, laughing and taking pictures, so I went over and asked if they’d like me to take their picture.  I snapped away for them, joining them in their laughter, then went back to sit down.  As soon as they saw me sit down, they yelled, “Are you alone?  Come join us!”  I kept saying “No.  That’s ok.  That’s ok.”  Then, I got brave.  The waiter raised his eyebrows...as if to say, “Go on.”  The hostess laughed and said...”They want you.”  So, I got a chair and pulled up to their table.  Five crazy women...and me...make SIX.  Turns out they were all “manless”.  Either divorced or widowed.  The rest is history!