How does one cope when their lover has gone… the handsome man who could nearly make me swoon with a nibble on the back of my neck! Tony was now a frail shell of the knight on snorting steed who’d swept me off my feet. I consistently encouraged his now fragile self-esteem; I praised his successes and reflected my positivity. Tony knew I was his lifeline now and sometimes cried for all he had lost. I shed my own tears, but seldom shared them, wanting to not crumple when he so sorely needed reassurance.
A young grocery clerk was surprised when I asked for a shopping bag when purchasing jumbo-packs of protective underwear. It didn’t matter that Tony wasn’t standing alongside – I wholly respected his pride and always maintained his privacy to the utmost.
A few inventive wardrobe adjustments to make pulling on track pants, no button shirts, and Velcro-fasteners on his shoes made dressing easier. I laid out his clothes now, when it was time for a change – he couldn’t choose anymore and would wear the same outfit day in and day out. Never once did I mention the increased laundry and clean-ups.
Shallow sleep with my ear always attuned to whether he was up – and for how long.
There was no textbook learning – helpful hints from fellow caregivers at the Support Group and creative adjustments to the norm seemed to work for us.
Challenging days when I was wearied and Tony seemed cross were more frequent now –sometimes I wondered how much longer…and then chided myself for even thinking such thought. After all, if the tables were turned, I knew Tony would give his best to me – that was an unquestionable truth.