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Do you ever just pretend your loved one is normal again?
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 10:48 AM
Joined: 9/16/2019
Posts: 77

Yesterday evening, I made my DW dinner (leftovers), and she happily ate them. We were watching Star Trek re-runs, as she has always loved Star Trek. I was feeling a little tired, so I left her in the front room while I took a 'therapy shower'.  I just let the warm water run for a while to relax. I could hear the TV, and my wife's giggles (Spock must have said something funny to Kirk). For those few minutes, everything could have been normal again. The house was clean, DW had eaten dinner and was happily watching a favorite TV show.  She had showered that morning, and had attended her daycare without an issue. She was clean, fed, and content. For that moment, while I was alone in the shower, I just pretended it was 2015 again and that our lives were back to normal. I even said it out loud, "Right now, no one would ever know that DW has advanced dementia, and that I am an exhausted and miserable caregiver. Just right now, for this short moment in time."

I have these moments from time to time, and I try to remember to just stop and bask in it.

Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 11:55 AM
Joined: 7/7/2013
Posts: 410

Dear Bill --

You've discoverd a powerful truth -- living in the moment.

In the trying moments (when all is seemingly going wrong) what happens in our heads (our self-talk) is ugly and angry, sorrowful and disappointed, anxious and fearful.  

But, like your moments in the shower, the trying moments are also only moments and, we can change the inner chatter to calmer words:

  • S/he's doing the best s/he can; and so am I (self-compassion)
  • This too shall pass
  • Breathe!
While this may not change the disruption we're experiencing with our spouse, it does change the inner dialogue to one that says, "I can manage my way through this!"

 The only moment in which we have ANY power is the present moment (we cannot change the past or mold the future) so, in this moment you have a choice.  

Often I recite to myself the Loving Kindness Meditation, "In this moment I am safe, I am happy, I am healthy, I live at ease" -- all of which, I appreciate is relative.  However, I've come to realize that with this mindset, more moments throughout my day are indeed calmer, quieter and more relaxed.

  • I am safe (we live in a safe home and my spouse is not violent)
  • I am healthy (relatively speaking for a 68-yr old caregiver)
  • I am happy (which I believe is a choice, even after 7 years of Alzheimer's in the house)
  • I live at ease (which is a relative perspective, to be sure, but one that reminds me I have much to be grateful for)
Our circumstances (including Alzheimer's) are not of our choosing but our response to those circumstances is.  My choices are not always loving or caring and certainly not perfect.  
They are, however more often than not born of the realization that I am right where I need to be, doing exactly what I've committed to doing and learning that this decade (or more) of my life will transform me in ways I could not have imagined or chosen or planned.

It is up to me to make that transformation a positive experience. Moment by moment.

Wishing you all the best,


Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 1:53 PM
Joined: 1/12/2018
Posts: 235

Bill - That was a huge WIN for you, and you needed that badly. I wish you more WINS!

Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 1:58 PM
Joined: 1/24/2019
Posts: 212

Thanks for those powerful words-  "living in the moment"
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:20 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 2917

The title of this thread is " Do you ever just pretend your loved one is normal again?". My answer to that is "No". But I do greatly appreciate the times when she seems to be normal. I'm glad you were able to have a few moments when you were not falling into the abyss again.
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 3:55 PM
Joined: 4/13/2018
Posts: 8

Beautifully written Bill and Pathfinder.  Remembering how things used to be is bittersweet.  The moments of clarity never last long enough.


Joe C.
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 5:19 PM
Joined: 10/13/2019
Posts: 282

Bill, Hang onto those moments. Even when few and far between these times remind us why we do what we do.
Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:39 PM
Joined: 5/24/2020
Posts: 57

Wow. Thank you I needed yours post
Michael J
Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2020 1:18 PM
Joined: 2/19/2020
Posts: 9

Hi Bill, I have times when I can forget that my DW has AZ but those are infrequent now because of our COVID lockdown. We are nearly always together. For me, the key is to engage in something pleasurable away from my wife. I used to get out more by myself but the restrictions make that difficult. So I tuck myself away in our bedroom or in the yard and read or play music. I also meditate. As you have likely discovered, these respites don't fix the problems you are experiencing, but do give you an occasional break. I am also exhausted much of the time and get quite depressed about our circumstances. I take each day as it comes and do my best to be patient and caring. AZ is taking away my caring, loving wife, leaving me lonely and broken hearted. I take each day as it comes.
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 11:50 PM
Joined: 4/23/2019
Posts: 382

Normal, each day can be a new normal.  DH is at such an advanced stage that I couldn't pretend even if I wanted to.  But, I do remember earlier stages that I pretended everything was normal.  One day at a time and one bite of that elephant at a time.
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 2:12 PM
Joined: 6/3/2020
Posts: 5

Thanks for posting this. This post and the responses have been very powerful for me. I hope my response can help you, too.

I don't get the feeling as much anymore, but once in a while it is a welcome thought. My husband is now in a nursing home and sometimes late at night when I am still up and usually very tired by then, I still think he is just in bed sleeping.

There were times when I was in some sort of denial, when I thought possibly I would wake up from a very bad dream and when I woke up I would tell him about this awful dream and we would both just chuckle about it.

Other times I would imagine that this was all just an elaborate hoax he was playing. He was a writer of sorts and my thinking on this is not so far fetched. He might even have very briefly been able to pull something like that off a long, long time ago.

I am happy to say that as time passes it gets easier but I don't think I will ever "get over it".