Sometimes I think of my husband’s dementia as a scrim painted to look like a lowering storm. Occasionally, a break in the clouds appears — a rip in the backdrop – to let brilliant light stream through.
We had two brilliant days this past week.
When Peter is happy and busy he whistles a tuneless few notes over and over. Those two days he bustled around the house, tidying here, straightening there, always whistling. He cleaned the fireplace, laid a fire, made lists, and never once, did he stand in the middle of the kitchen trying to remember where the coffee mugs were. He hasn’t bustled in months!
Two whole days!
He instigated conversation about our grandchildren, Sam and Miah, asked if Carolynn and Bill were snowed-in up north, remembered the recent visit by friends Shelia and Jerry, and willingly watched two Netflix movies in one evening.
Of course it didn’t last, but it was good while it did.
This morning around nine o’clock he was watching football, Manchester United vs Chelsea, when I told him was going for my walk. I went up the hill to the golf course and meandered around enjoying the bright day and the brisk wind. When I got back after nearly an hour, Peter met me at the door. “Martin was just here,” he said, “but I missed him. I left because I thought you were here.”
“I went for my walk, remember? But if you missed him, how do you know he was here?”
“I saw him when I was taking Nobby out.”
“You didn’t stay to talk to him?”
“No, I was going out. He seemed to know what he was doing.”
Then I saw a scribbled note from Mart: Judy, soup & ham in fridge.
I called Leslie to thank her for the soup and asked for the rest of the story. She’d needed to borrow my blender, Martin knew where it was, so it didn’t matter that Peter left the house as he arrived. I apologized. “An hour is a long time for Peter to remember something, Mom,” she said.
Later, Peter came and stood beside me as I was writing this. His head drooped, his arms hung limp at his sides. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t know. There’s ‘stuff’ in the fridge, and I don’t know why Martin was here.”
“It’s all sorted, don’t worry. He brought soup and borrowed the blender. It’s OK.” He allowed me to hug him.
“It is Saturday, isn’t it?” he asked. I shook my head. “But football’s on…Sunday then?” I nodded.
He sighed. “I can’t remember things for ten minutes!” he mumbled into my shoulder.
“Hm-m, ten minutes might be stretching it,” I said.
He laughed, gave me a little hug, and went back to the telly. By this time ManU had whomped Liverpool, 3-nil, and Swansea and Tottenham were playing.