During the last few visits, Jerry has had good days, meaning he has been fairly alert, with his eyes open, and walking around the unit. Today, I was standing by the nurse's station when he walked through the door. He came toward me and stood. I held my arms out. He slowly and just for a few inches, moved his arms toward me. I'm not sure he knew me but he is always willing to hug and be hugged.....by anyone.
Lunch was not ready yet, so we walked around the unit for a few minutes. There was a foggy mist hovering overhead and the back door was propped open, so we walked outside. You could hear the sprinkle on the trees. There's a figure eight sidewalk in the little fenced in back yard so we wandered around the track together. He would only step a few steps at the time, but our walk was pleasant with a lot of gazing around. Looking into his eyes, I asked, "Do you know who I am?" For some reason I need to know these things. Don't know why...because he really doesn't..and it really doesn't matter. Anyway, I said, "Jerry. I'm Sue." He didn't respond accept with a puzzled look. I said, "I'm Sue. I'm your wife." Then, he said, "My wife?" and looked at me. "Yes. I'm the one who loves you more than anyone on this earth." Then....he faded back out.
It's ok. I'm use to it. Sort of like that scene in the movie, the Notebook, where James Garner had prepared a romantic candlelit dinner for Gena Rowland. He read to her from the notebook and she seemed to come alive for a brief second. He fell completely in love with her again, wept and took her in his arms and then it happened. She became lost and fearful and the staff had to take her away. He was devastated. That scene was so real!
Those days are long gone for Jerry and I. Those days were years ago. Those emotional wrenches of pain do not press tight anymore. I know Jerry doesn't REALLY know me, nor does he have any memories left in him. I've accepted that. So when there is a brief second of something....I take it with a grain of salt, enjoy it, then we both move on.
SO that was our good day today.
Here's my question, however. What is a good day? My idea of a good day is when I see Jerry free of pain and secure in a happy little peace. That is the way he is where he lives. My idea of a good day is NOT whether he knows me or not. It is NOT whether he eats or not. It is NOT whether he is alert. The GOOD DAYS cannot depend on those things because they will eventually go. Yes...it's good when he does those things...but the GOOD is not only that. The GOOD is that he is secure and at peace, whether he is sleeping or wandering around, eating or not. A GOOD day is completing another day with no mishaps, falls, or injuries. A GOOD day is when he is gently put to bed at night and sleeps like a baby. SO...so far, most all of our days are good days.