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On Tuesday, I received a phone call from a business associate. As these things go, we discussed business for about 20 minutes, and spent the next hour talking about the usual topics women discuss – husbands, families, everyone’s medical condition, travel. As women know, and men wonder about – the list goes on.

During our conversation, she excitedly told me about the RV she and her husband bought. She described the process that led to the purchase. Her husband endlessly researched RV features; the two of them put their heads together and decided what they needed, which ones they wanted, and which ones they could not live without. They fantasized about how they were going to use the RV and where they were going to travel with it. Together they laughed, planned, and finally bought the one they felt best suited their needs. Sometime next summer, when their Ohio weather warms up from the current 13 degrees, they will embark on their adventure together. I was thrilled for her, and reiterated my philosophy of “doing it now” because who knows what lies down the road – a philosophy she embraces, as her first husband died too soon.

But somewhere in the middle of the conversation, I realized how far away from our previous life, Alzheimer’s Disease has taken Sid and me. I make as valiant an effort as I am able, to adjust to the ever changing downslide that Alzheimer’s Disease brings to a marital relationship. I have adjusted to the “New Normal” - the worn out catch phrase of the first decade of the 21st century, that I am so sick of hearing, it turns my stomach. The “New Normal” of an Alzheimer’s marriage means – Do not argue – their reasoning button is broken; Do not ask their opinion – they cannot make a decision; Do not discuss – they cannot follow complex conversations, and they will forget them anyway. Keep them calm. Make all the decisions alone

I have expended so much energy adjusting to that infernal “New Normal” that I had forgotten our old life, the one before Alzheimer’s Disease took possession of it. I have built a fairly strong shield around my fragile heart, but every so often, something triggers a crack, and the pain of loss seeps in. As my friend was happily relaying her and her husband’s joyous adventure in RV planning, I felt that crack in my shield; my own memories flooded my heart and sadness overwhelmed me.

As she talked, I thought – That used to be us – planning together, batting back and forth options of finances, travel, even something as simple as what to have for dinner. As short a time as 4 years ago, when we were planning the big North to South move, Sid was on the computer daily, looking up real estate, making a list of houses, neighborhoods, prices. Together, we planned, discussed, mused, about what we wanted in a house, where we would live, how we would pay for it. We talked about how we would make friends, the joy of year-round warm weather. It was exciting, fun, and we did it together. The Joan and Sid Team in action. Just like my friend and her husband with their RV adventure planning.

I do try to concentrate on the positive – on what we still have that Alzheimer’s Disease has not yet stolen from us, but once in awhile, an incident occurs that tears open the scars on my Alzheimer’s worn heart, and the sadness flows in. Sometimes I cannot help it – I miss “US”, the team we used to be and will never be again.

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©Copyright 2010 Joan Gershman 
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2009 All Rights Reserved       



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The Alzheimer Spouse LLC 2009 All Rights Reserved          













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