Jim is in the middle phases of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I know there is much more to come as far as his declines, but there are still so many things about him I miss, now, in this stage of the game.
I miss those things that are part of having a spouse. I long for so many nuances that made Jim, Jim. My Jim. My chosen partner for life.
I miss his ability to fix things around the house; put up a ceiling fan, change an electrical socket, paint a room, start a fire, and hang blinds. He was always very handy and helpful at home. Now he puts the recycling in the trash bin and the trash in the recycling bin. He cannot read or follow directions and he would not know where to begin with a simple project. He is unable to even fill the bird feeders. Just a few years ago he helped the kids build a “fort” which is now makeshift storage in our backyard.
I miss him being able to run to the store for me when I am in the middle of preparing a meal and realize I am out of a crucial ingredient. Or being able to help with taking the kids to and from activities. Or taking the wheel when I have had a drink or two. I miss being in the passenger seat (literally and figuratively).
I miss his help with disciplining the kids. Although I have always been the tougher parent, it was nice to have someone else to keep tabs on them and keep them in line. Asking for the hundredth time to clean their rooms would sound better coming from someone else once in a while.
I miss discussing life with him; kids, friends, news, plans, thoughts, feelings, weather, life decisions…all of it. I find my self just skipping the conversation now. I know he won’t be able to input much and at times the more I tell him the more confused he becomes. So our home is much quieter. Silence is lonely.
I miss the excitement of planning Christmas and birthday gifts. We used to hire a babysitter, grab the dozen toy catalogs we had received in the mail and go sit at a restaurant pouring over them to decide what each child would want. It was a fun time and it was nice to work together. Now he doesn’t seem to notice when we are in the middle of a holiday season or celebrating a special occasion.
I miss that togetherness. I miss holding his hand and feeling his arms, strongly hugging me to him. I miss his touch and his smell and the comfort of his embrace.
I miss his help in the yard. He has mangled many plants. He has taken apart the weed whacker and lawn mower. He has no idea what is a weed and what is a flower. (inIn all honesty, sometimes I am unsure myself). When we moved into our home in Las Vegas, he put in an irrigation system and was so proud of the yard and the plants. He could always be found outside working on something.
I miss his fierce wit and laughter and fun nature. There are times this still shines through, but his personality is dulled more and more and his smile isn’t quite the same.
I miss his ability to make me feel special and beautiful and loved.
I miss his athletic prowess. We have always enjoyed watching sports year round and it was a big part of our early years. Now we enjoy watching the kids play their respective sports. Jim was in 3 or 4 softball leagues when we met. He played racquetball, flag football and volleyball. Now he has trouble playing catch with Brad and following a game on TV.
I miss my husband, even though he is constantly right here next to me. I miss his independent nature and his love of reading and his beautiful handwriting. I miss his strong stature and his pride in his appearance. I miss his determination to save for retirement and his dreams of our future together. I miss…
I miss so much of him, and I know I will lose even more in the months and years to come.