New broom sweeps even better.

Peter clears the litter from the porch.

A nurse sat at the end of the hall when I approached my husband’s room yesterday. “Peter’s outside,” she said as she walked toward me. “He’s had a bad morning…very out of sorts….”

I held up the new broom I’d brought. “He was so thrilled to be able to sweep up grass the other day,” I said, “but he complained he needed a bigger broom. This ought to do it.” She nodded her head and said he’d told everyone that he got to sweep.

She added that she’d just given him his morning beer. I suggested tactfully that a cup of tea usually works better when he’s upset. “Beer with his lunch would be a better idea,” I said. She went off to change the orders—PBR with lunch, Guinness after dinner.

Outside, I saw him at the far end of the garden. When I yelled his name he looked up and laughed. “What are you doing here?” he asked, trotting in my direction. I brandished the new broom. “What’s that?” he  asked.

“You said you needed a bigger broom.” He grinned as if it were the best present ever. “This space really needs to be swept,” I said, as I nudged him toward the porch where we often sit.

Well, that’s all it took! He went right to work sweeping leaves and twigs off the cement and even whisking the seat cushions clean. He also managed to polish off his beer and the coffee I’d brought, before he tracked along the sidewalk with that bright red broom. He was in a much happier mood when I left for my dentist appointment, and so was I.

This morning I learned that Peter’s down mood had returned in the afternoon. Again he asked over and over why he was there? When I got home from the dentist, probably about the same time he had the second meltdown, I looked around at the mess “Florence” had made and wondered how I’d cope on my own without my champion sweeper and all that autumn brings. But my thoughts are selfish compared to those my husband is trying to sort out in his fractured mind.


Header: Bittersweet is lush this year.

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. 


15 thoughts on “New broom sweeps even better.

  1. So thoughtful as always. Part of the Plan of Care in a residence should include tasks that provide a sense of purpose. We all need to have a sense of purpose, for our mental health. That broom really is as a timely and perfect gift!

  2. It’s the little things that matter most…. a new broom, a thoughtful gift and useful!. Nice follow up to the broom post.

  3. Thank you so very much for this blog, Judith. I spent the last two days reading it through (sorry if the “likes” kept pinging your phone…) – so many of the entries were just what we’ve been going through the past 5 or 6 years. I so appreciate your candor and your humor! I think we are a year or two behind your trajectory, managing with the day program three days a week and a person coming in Tu & Thur afternoons for a couple of hours. It seemed like such a generous amount of “time off”, at first!
    Now, however, it’s clear to me that moving up to 5 days a week is in the offing, and within a year I believe that it will be time for residential care. I’m both relieved and also all twisted up inside at that latter prospect.
    Just THANKS, and hang in there – it’s a road no one wants to be on, but you are holding a light for some of us who are coming along behind.

    • And I thank you, J—hope it’s OK if I call you ‘J.’ 😉 I’m reading your posts too and had realized you’re not as far along this long winding road as we are. In fact, just this past week I’ve added two more days of companion care to the four days a week my husband already has in the new ‘home’ he wants desperately to leave. The only way to survive this is with humor. You hang in there, too.

  4. Nice red broom, a pile of leaves and a wife who loves him enough to keep him safe. You rock Judy❣️❣️

  5. Wonderfully bittersweet follow up. The sad seems to creep into the good, doesn’t it? This post represents this time of year to me. Peace beautiful lady🍁🍂🌻

Comments are closed.