Bob’s Younger Wife

I was 26 and Bob was 40 when we met. Being a younger woman didn’t bother me at all. Bob was young at heart and perhaps I was an old soul. I never felt the 14-year age difference made much of a difference for us. We were the perfect age for us! We married when I was 28 and Bob was 42. We had our “late in life” son when I was 38 and Bob was 52. Bob was my daily reminder that I was young. At least younger than him! I loved being Bob’s younger wife!

People would ask about our age difference, and it would only confirm that I was the younger wife. Being with an older guy was a reminder that I was younger. I was never the old person in the room. Bob was!

When our son Kyle was born, Bob had a daily prayer. He wanted to live long enough for his son to remember him. Not sure why Bob thought that might not happen, but Bob was grateful as the years passed. Once Kyle was old enough to have many memories of his dad, Bob’s prayer turned to living long enough to see Kyle graduate from High School. When High School came and went, Bob prayers became living to see Kyle graduate from college. When that happened, Bob would pray to see Kyle be happily married. That beautiful milestone was met over 6 years ago. I know Bob LOVED celebrating his 80th birthday with family in Maui and commented over and over how he never thought he’d live that long. He was thrilled he had lived longer than his dad did and would mention that frequently.

Did Bob have hopes of living to experience other milestones with Kyle? I’m not sure. Bob’s ability to project into the future or think about things to come disappeared with his dementia. Or if he had those thoughts, he couldn’t verbalize them. I think he was content with all the wonderful things that had happened in his life with Kyle and with all his other children and family. And with me. His younger wife.

What I find interesting thinking about all of this is that I never once though about my own possibility of dying. I felt young and healthy and perhaps invincible. It was Bob’s thing to worry about his death and when that might come. I was young. Or at least that’s how I felt! His younger wife.

I thought Bob’s initial memory loss or confusion was just a sign of his aging. I attributed it to him being older than I was. It never occurred to me that he had a cognitive issue until he started really mixing up words and mumbling. I thought he had a stroke and off to the neurologist we went. Mild Cognitive Disorder was the diagnosis at that time. What a shocker! My older husband wasn’t just older, he was having cognitive issues that would only worsen with time. I think I began to age in reverse. I felt younger as Bob declined. Or maybe it was that Bob just seemed older and older as the disease progressed, and I felt the same. I thanked God repeatedly for His wisdom and plan in bringing Bob and me together all those years ago. God’s provision allowed for Bob to have a wife that could and would be able to take care of him. Had I been Bob’s age, perhaps I would have needed care myself or not been able to handle the rigors of taking care of him. So, Bob aged, and I stayed the same. His younger wife.

When Bob died, I was 69 and he was 83.

Now here I am. A nearly 70-year-old widow who feels very old for the first time ever in her life. I don’t have that older husband to make me feel younger and healthier by comparison. I don’t have a daily reminder that I’m not all that old. Now I just feel old, and I am thinking about my life in a totally different light. I’m the one praying to have more time with my son and my family. I’m the one praying to make more milestone memories. I’m the old person in my household of 1.

Dang. What wouldn’t I give to still be Bob’s younger wife?

I miss you in so very many ways Bob. This is just one.

The Aftermath #2: NEW YEAR. NEW WORD.

For the past two years, I have selected a word (or did a word select me?) to focus on throughout the year while dealing with the challenges of caregiving.  Last year my word was JOY and the year prior, my word was GENTLE.  I have enjoyed going back and reading my blogs as to why those words became my words.  My blog surely helps me to remember where I was mentally at that time.  So that’s why I’m writing again today.  I’ll need to look back and remember this day.

KINDNESS.  This word is my new word for 2022. 

The kindness of others has carried me through the months of Bob’s decline and then his passing.  It’s true that a rough time brings out the best in people.  I’ve been surrounded by kindness. It’s amazing how much love has been heaped upon me. Special family times. Flowers in abundance. Sympathy cards with beautiful sentiments. Long letters. Sweet Facebook posts. Phone calls. Emails. Texts. Handholding. Prayers. Delicious homemade meals.  Crying with others.  Laughing with others. Heartfelt small gifts. Unexpected big gifts.  Special Christmas ornaments. Sage advice. Listening ears. Meals with supportive friends. Invites to go places. Caring hugs. KINDNESS over and over.

So, what I’ve noticed about myself is that I’m much more sympathetic towards others now.  I don’t think I understood how devasting it can be to lose a loved one until now.  I never felt such deep heartache until Bob’s death.  I know I was very sad when I lost my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, other relatives, and even friends but I don’t think I was as empathic to the surviving spouse or family as I would be now.  I needed to feel the pain myself to be able to feel it for others. And boy, do I feel it now. Bob’s death brought feelings I never knew. The pain and sadness that someone else is feeling is so real to me now.  I’m sorry that it took Bob’s death for me to feel this deep of a compassion for someone else’s loss. The loss of my husband has changed me in many ways, and I think this is one of the better changes. Yes, my emotions are so raw right now, but I feel my heart is more open to the feelings of others. It’s like I’m set on super sensitive mode!

So, I need to remember to be kind to those that are hurting.  And I think you’d agree that we all fit that category.  We all have something going on in our lives that is hurting us. We all have some kind of struggle.   We all could use kindness. I’m grateful to all of you that showered me with kindness and paved the way for me to choose my new word (and my new action) for 2022!

Here we go 2022! 

Be Kind. Please.

The Aftermath #1     Dismantling Bob’s Life

47 days have gone by since Bob’s death.

So much has happened.  The “to do” list when someone dies is long— notify social security, notify the banks, notify the credit card companies, notify the insurance companies, notify your friends and neighbors, and write an obituary to notify people that still get the printed paper. Every time I had to make one of those notifications, it brought Bob’s death back fresh again.  Yes, my husband died.  Thank you for your condolences.  Yes, I’ll reach out if I need help.

I am an extremely organized person and I have a binder titled “What to do upon our Death!”.  May sound a bit weird but it’s full of contact information and guidelines to follow.  Step by Step. Lots of lists.  Do this.  Do that.  Be sure to remember to do this.  Don’t forget to do that.  I’m not sure what people do when they don’t have a binder with advice and all the information they need right there at their fingertips. Lists bring me comfort.  As brain dead as I was (or still am), I needed all the help I could get to start on the process of dismantling Bob’s life.  Yes, that’s what it feels like.  Dismantling 83 years of Bob’s life with phone calls and paperwork.

I was talking to one of our Credit Card companies to remove Bob’s name from my account and terminate his Credit Card.  The representative had to read me a disclaimer that said if I went ahead with removing Bob from the account, that it was irreversible, and I couldn’t add him back on the account.  I was a bit caught off guard and I assured her that his death was irreversible too and I would have no need to add him back on my account.  Not sure if she thought I was funny or just a crazy grieving widow!

I’ve emptied out Bob’s wallet and now I can’t throw the contents away.  I’m not sure what others have done with their deceased husband’s ID card, Medicare card, Kaiser card, Covid Vaccination card, pacemaker implant card, SeaWorld pass, a picture of Kyle as a newborn, and many old business cards.  There’s nothing in my binder of “What to do upon our Death!” that tells me what is considered proper with all of that.  Do I shred the contents or set them aside to look at every so often?  I’ve chosen the set them aside route and I ponder every few days as to what to do. That’s the same route I’ve taken with copious files, health records, and old paperwork from his years on the SDPD. I just touch them, move them, reshuffle them, and set them back down. I have a feeling I’ll still be wondering what to do with many things for many more months or even years.

I was quick to clean out one of Bob’s closets.  Not sure why that happened so easily but I think it’s a purely selfish reason. I wanted that closet space for myself. I kept three of his robes and I love wearing them.  The blue plaid flannel one brings me the most comfort.  Hardly a day went by in the last few years that Bob didn’t wear that robe.  I’d say it was the anchor piece of his wardrobe. Bizarre that an old bathrobe can warm my heart these days.  But it does.

I parted with a few of his belongings—high school ring, police academy ring, engraved money clip, key ring, years of service pins from the SDPD, name tags, and a few of his favorite baseball caps. It felt good to give those items to Bob’s children and let them have a tangible piece of their dad. They are of little monetary value, but they represent a part of their dad’s life.  It was great to see them take these little trinkets and look at them like they were treasures.  I’ve kept his police shield and his $10.00 Walmart watch. Those two things mean so much to me.  The police badge makes sense as Bob LOVED being a police officer and he was so proud of his 30+ year career.  I can’t quite figure out why Bob’s old cheap watch means so much.  I think it is because it represents who he was.  Humble and unpretentious. An inexpensive watch suited him best.

I have so many other aspects of these weeks since Bob’s death that I want to write about but for now I think I’ll take a break, go put on his plaid flannel bathrobe, and sit in his recliner with my good memories.

Maybe I’ll turn my binder into a guidebook for others about what to do upon a death of a spouse and I’ll put “wear their bathrobe and sit in their favorite chair” at the very top of the list!

Last Chapter or Just a Plot Twist?

This might be my last blog entry. My sweet hubby Bob passed away on November 11th and so ends our journey of living with Dementia. Boy, what a journey it was. If you had told me at the beginning that it would get as hard as it did, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it got harder than I ever imagined as I watched my husband slowly fade way over the years and then finally pass away. Dementia is a cruel, nasty, mean disease.

Bob only spent 9 days at the care facility. 9 days where he was looked after and cared for so much better than I could ever have done at our home. The care was top-notch and so loving. He was treated kindly and with the upmost respect. He spent his last days sleeping nearly 24 hours a day. He woke and opened his eyes occasionally but then quickly fell back asleep. He didn’t speak or respond. He only ate a few bites of food (he was on a pureed food diet) every now and then. It was clear that it was never enough to sustain him. It was so hard knowing that he was moving closer each day to his final day.

Hospice added an additional level of care. We were visited by the hospice caregiver, several hospice nurses, the hospice social worker, and the hospice chaplain. All of them made the death process much easier. The hospice caregiver would give Bob a “bed bath” with such gentleness. The nurses made sure he wasn’t agitated and was kept comfortable. The social worker and chaplain wanted to make sure I had all the support I needed. We couldn’t have asked for a better care team during this tough period.

Bob’s final couple of days are all a blur—family coming by to say their goodbyes, a visit from our pastor, hospice visits, and owner and staff from the care facility making sure I was ok—visiting with me and bringing me snacks and meals.

I was able to be with be with Bob as he passed. Quietly without any fanfare. Just breathing one moment and not breathing the next. And just like that his life on earth was over. And just like that, I imagined him with a new glorified body and mind. Oh, I can’t wait to be with him again. The promises of our faith are what sustain me.

But in the meantime, my revised life goes on. Not quite sure what it looks like at this point. But I know it is not a life without Bob. No matter what, that goofy guy won’t be out of my heart ever. No not ever.

My prayer is for the difficult times and sad memories to fade away and leave me with a cache of good memories. Boy, we had so many. Right now, my mind can’t quite move off the past few weeks but every day I find more minutes of the day when I’m not sorrowful.

I’ve been told that there are 5 stages of grief, and everyone experiences them in a different order.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I feel that over the past 4 years I went through stages 1-4 even though Bob was alive. I’ve already experienced denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. All of those in abundance. I’ve done my share of crying and feeling so helpless. I’ve been so mad that Bob had to have such a horrible disease. I’ve had times I just curled up and cried and cried. Times I screamed in anger. There were times I was on my knees begging God to take this all away. I was so lonely and sad even while Bob was alive. I was missing Bob terribly already and he wasn’t even gone. I mourned the loss of the life that I thought we would have, and I grieved over the loss of the person Bob had been.

Am I at “Acceptance”? Maybe. Maybe not. How can I know only 10 days since Bob’s passing? When people tell me I am doing well, I tell them it’s because I have been doing horribly for a long time. I’ve been mourning and grieving for a prolonged period. I’ve moved through all those stages of grief and here I am.

So, Bob with 1 o, what’s the plan? Let’s continue our journey and see where my life goes while I carry you in my heart. Let’s go!

Nothing To Laugh About!

When I first started wring my blog about Bob with 1 o, it was a way to share our experiences with this disease and also share some of the humor, love, and joy we have in our lives. In the past few days, I’ve wanted to write and update all of you, but I can’t find any humor in the situation. So here goes anyway. I hope you feel the love and the joy.

Bob’s disease has progressed to a point where he is sleeping 18-20 hours a day. He is either in his bed or in his recliner. The only walking he does is when I assist him and get him from one place to another. Occasionally, he doesn’t even walk that short distance and I roll him on his walker.

Dementia really has taken a toll on him. But then something new came along to make matters worse, his kidney function greatly declined. He became dehydrated and that threw his one functioning kidney into severe chronic kidney disease. That threw him into even more fatigue and confusion. So, after a couple of days in the ER getting tested in all ways, they determined there was no infection and no other issue with the kidney. Bob was dehydrated and nutritionally anemic. So, he they hydrated him and then he was released with orders to drink more fluids and eat better. That’s a tall order for someone with dementia who has no appetite or ability to understand that he NEEDS to eat and drink.

They also did swallow tests on Bob and put him on a soft food diet. They are concerned he could aspirate food into his lungs. They also had to sedate him and have a “sitter” in the room with him as he was extremely confused and agitated during his hospital stay. A few medications were changed, and he was taken off his Pradaxa (blood thinner) as he is a fall risk. The doctor in the ER talked with me candidly about Palliative Care and Hospice Care. More difficult matters to ponder.

I have had Bob on a waiting list at a Memory Care Facility in Alpine since August. It’s a small popular highly recognized facility and there aren’t openings often. But on November 1st, prayers were answered. There is a room available, and BOB IS MOVING IN THERE TODAY. He’s sleeping right now as we’re awaiting the medical transport van to arrive. I’m writing instead of pacing…

On top of that blessing, the Hospice process was started. They jumped through hoops to get Bob evaluated, approved, and signed up. So, Bob will not only be getting great care from the staff of the Alpine View Lodge, but he will also have the extra layer of care from the Hospice nurse, health aide, social worker, and chaplain. Blessings upon blessings are coming our way.

Had Bob not had the decline in his overall health and the ER experience, I might have felt that I could take care of him at home with some intermittent help. But God, in all His wisdom, wanted to clearly show me that Bob needs more care than I can provide. I’m convinced now that Bob needs to live in the care facility and I’m confident in that decision. That doesn’t make it any easier. I’m still going to have that little voice in my ear questioning my choice, but the voice will be softer and easier to ignore!!

And to all our family and friends that have lent a listening ear and a caring heart—GOD BLESS YOU!!

And to myself, it’s ok to be sad after making the right decision.

PS: Bob slept the day away in his new room while I moved in his clothes, personal items, TV, and a few pictures. It was hard to walk out of his room and go home tonight but I know that he will get the care he needs there 24/7. And I’m looking forward to a great night’s sleep. Tomorrow I will meet his hospice nurse and the hospice chaplain. And I get to be a wife visiting my husband and I don’t have to be his caregiver. Now that’s LOVE AND JOY!

Helicopter Wife!

I did move Bob back home after 9 days. I think the memory care facility was inattentive, understaffed, and uncommunicative. They probably think I was a worrisome helicopter wife–hovering over my guy!!

I don’t know if my expectations for his care were too high, but I felt the assurances given about the level of care Bob would receive were not met and that I could take better care of him at home. I could give lots of examples on their lack of care but trust me, Bob wasn’t getting top notch attention by any means.

I packed up his little bedroom into laundry baskets and black plastic bags and home he came. The first few days at home were some of the worst days we’ve ever had. Change is hard for folks with dementia and the bouncing to the facility and back again must have thrown him into a bit of a chaos. I questioned my decision to bring Bob home repeatedly. Questioning my decisions seems to be a common occurrence.

But now that Bob’s been home for nearly 2 weeks, I realize that it was the right decision. It’s hard to be responsible for him 24/7 but I think it’s easier than worrying 24/7! Now if I could just get him to sleep at night instead of the day.

Even though I still feel that he’ll need the care provided by an assisted living/memory care facility, it will need to be “the right place”. So, Bob continues to be on the waiting list for that place and I will do my best to take care of him in our home until there’s a room available for him. Waiting on God’s perfect timing. Patiently.

Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”

It’s been a rocky road. Did I expect differently? Everything about this disease is horrible. It not only has affected Bob, it’s also been life changing for me, Bob’s family, my family, and our friends. There’s no normal anymore and everyday can be a challenge. My mantra has become “Dementia Sucks!”.

I had written before about putting Bob on a waiting list at my preferred Memory Care Facility. I was hopeful that something would open up soon and he would be getting placed. That’s not happening and Bob’s need for professional care 24/7 is increasing. And my insanity is increasing.

So, I shifted gears and made lots of phone calls and did some tours of other facilities. I chose a small warm welcoming Senior Living Facility in La Mesa. Not as close to Alpine as I would like but everything else about it was great. They were willing to do a respite/trail period so that I can keep him on the wait list at the Alpine facility. This move doesn’t have to be permanent if it does not work out. That was reassuring to me.

The ton of paperwork, assessments, doctor’s appointments, and general preparation that ensued was enough to make me go nuts. But I got through it and Bob is moving into his new home today. Yes, today. Hard to believe that the car is packed and ready to go and that I’m calm enough to be writing this blog. He’s still in his PJ’s, sound asleep in front of the TV in his recliner. He knows nothing of the move later today.

The day that I made the decision and placed the deposit was the worst. Even with prayer, family support, and the head knowledge that I was doing the right thing, I still had a heavy heavy heart. What is so strange, is that Bob told me that he loves me about 20 times that day. So out of the norm for him to repeat “I love you” over and over throughout the day. It made me think that he was trying to give me a message that he didn’t want to move (even though he doesn’t know about the move) or that he really needed to be with me. His verbal outpouring of love really touched me that day and I started to question my decision even more. If that’s even possible.

I told Bob’s sisters about this and they both had such great insight. Pam said that it was Bob’s way of reassuring me that he loved me no matter what and that he would always love me. Even if we lived apart. Colleen said it was God speaking through Bob to give me His love and support. Of course, I cried as I soaked in their thoughts. Their take on Bob’s uncommon outpouring of love, was very reassuring.

So today is move in day.

The question is “Will Bob still love me tomorrow?”

Welcome September!

I made a lot of decisions in August.

I started with a private caregiver coming to our home a couple of mornings a week so that I could go to a Jazzercise class. BOTH are working out GREAT. I’m a klutz on the jazzercise floor but it’s great to get a good workout and clear my head. But most importantly, Bob and caregiver Nicole do well together. She just sits with him while he dozes off and on in his recliner. She fixes him his breakfast. Occasionally she can get Bob outside to walk with his walker but not often. He’d rather sleep. It’s sweet to see how he’s taken a liking to her, and he is always pleased to see her and has no concern about me leaving. What a blessing. Thanks Nicole!

Then I met with the administrator of a local residential memory care facility. Big step. I had a long list of questions for her, and all were answered. I’m a planner and I like to be able to know what lies ahead if Bob needs to live in a care facility. It was such a helpful meeting for an organizer like me. My sister Christie went along with Bob and me so that I had someone else to listen to the answers and ask about things I forgot. And give me support. Thanks Christie!

My biggest takeaway was something that was said at that meeting—I will question and have guilt over every decision I make from here on out. There’re no more easy decisions ahead. To have doubt that I’m doing the right thing for Bob and me is the new norm. I just must learn to quiet that voice that constantly chirps in my ear questioning my every thought and move.

At the administrator’s suggestion, Bob has spent some time there throughout August without me. A little respite care for me and a little time for them to evaluate his behavior and assess his needs. Bob’s disease has progressed to the point where he doesn’t seem to miss me or be concerned about me being gone. As sad as that is, I’m glad that he wasn’t there worrying about where I was or wondering when I would be back. The staff tells says he’s cooperative there and he’s welcome for daycare anytime. What a huge relief to know there’s a haven for Bob when I have appointments or a place to be where I can’t take him. My blood pressure and stress are already better!

Then I put Bob on their waiting list for a room. What?! Yes, I put Bob on their waiting list for a room. Am I really ready for that? Is Bob at the stage that he’s ready for that? I always had a benchmark in mind as to when I might consider placing him in a memory care home and he’s not at that benchmark yet. But where Bob is right now is crazy hard. I just am not sure that I’m able to care for Bob at home and I’m vacillating on just what to do. I never realized how hard caregiving for a person with dementia would be. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I seriously thought I would be able to deal with anything and everything that would be part of caring for my hubby. NOT!!! This is quite the wild ride and I’m not sure I can stay on it!

I have always said that I won’t make any big decisions while I’m tired, anxious, stressed, angry—but guess what? I’m tired, anxious, stressed, and angry every day.

There is no available room for Bob at this time and I have no idea when a room might open. That’s probably good as I’m not sure if we’re ready to take this step. I do know that God has a plan for Bob and for me. A room will open at just the perfect time. I’m trusting in God’s perfect timing.

So, let’s see what September brings!!

Proverbs 6:19
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Summer Picnic 2021 Bob with 1 o!

Me Time, Oh Me Time!

Oh, to be 40 pounds lighter or 40 years younger. Or both!

I’ve started taking a little me time since my last blog. I needed a little break from being with Bob and I didn’t need to go shopping or dining. I needed exercise. BADLY. Not sure if I was thinking clearly but exercise seemed like a good idea.

First step was finding a caregiver to stay with Bob. A text and a phone call, and voila! Nicole is a “shirt tail” relative who is a CNA with a kind soul staying with Bob a few mornings a week for a couple of hours. They seem to have hit it off well. Bob thinks she’s a granddaughter and we just go with that. She’s not a shy or timid woman. She speaks right up and jumps right into whatever Bob needs. She’s gotten him outside for a walk a few times, she fixes him breakfast, and she keeps him company while he dozes off and on in his recliner. Bob even cooperated with her supervising his shower one morning. Miracles do happen. Nicole’s got such a kind heart and I can tell she is a caregiver who cares!

Next it was deciding what kind of exercise to do during the time Nicole is at our home with Bob. I signed up for Jazzercise classes. Who do I think I am? Cheerleading in High School is ancient history. Dancing only takes place every so often at a wedding. The last time I exercised, I wore a leotard and leg warmers. My two new knees haven’t ever skipped, jumped, or kicked. But I signed up.

So now I’m 6 classes in. Have I improved? So slightly that I’m not sure. Am I enjoying it? YES! It’s close by our home, the women are warm and welcoming, the instructors are encouraging, no one is judgmental of my ability (or lack of ability), and it’s the only time of the day when I’m not thinking or stressing about Bob. There’s no room in my brain to worry about Bob while I’m trying to releve’, chasse’, and do pulsing hip extensions.

So, thanks to all of you that encouraged me to carve out a little time for myself. Sometimes it’s that first step that’s the hardest. It’s nice to be trying something different and stepping out of my comfort zone. I hurt in a million places. I feel totally inept. But I like it! Thanks for the shove…

Parenting Round Two

I have only one child with Bob. I have many stepchildren, grandchildren, and great grandchildren but only one child that we had and raised together. I can say without any doubt that Kyle was the easiest child to raise EVER. No drama. No behavioral issues. No terrible twos or threes or even thirteens. Just a fun, well behaved, enjoyable kid. He was a joy to parent and at 31 he is still a huge blessing in our lives. I only tell you this so that I can explain why I am not doing well in handling what is going on currently in my life. I have no training!

Bob has gotten to a stage where he always needs supervision. It’s been a few years since I stopped leaving him home alone, but it has morphed into my need to be by his side or in the same room. If I do not watch over him like a hawk, then crazy things happen. It’s hard to imagine that he’s my husband. I feel I have another toddler to care for.

Here’s a rundown of the last week:
• Threw his socks and underwear in the trashcan instead of the hamper. Several times throughout the week.
• Spilled large mugs of coffee on himself, his recliner, and the area rug—actually 4 times this week.
• Put meals that he didn’t finish in the pantry. Boy did we have ants from that!
• Wiped dirty plates off with a napkin and put them back in the cupboard.
• Hid a cup of coffee in the cupboard behind the trashcan so that no one would drink it overnight. Of course, it ended up spilling and making a mess.
• Filled the bathroom sink with shaving cream instead of putting it on his head/face to shave.
• Cut the top off several Keurig pods and just dumped the coffee in his cup of coffee to make it taste better. And grittier.
• Emptied the dishwasher and put away the dishes. Would have been nice but the dishes hadn’t been washed yet.
• Heated his coffee in the microwave for 6 minutes instead of 60 seconds so that it boiled over and made a puddle of HOT BOILING coffee in the microwave that nearly burnt him. This is a repeated offense.
• Hid his wallet, handkerchief, and hat so that they wouldn’t get stolen by the imaginary people who are staying here and then in the morning he couldn’t remember where they are hidden and was convinced that they were stolen. This too is an ongoing situation but when he hides the wallet when I’m not watching then we both are hunting for it the next day.
• Moved some furniture in the living room and guest room out of the way to accommodate more imaginary people that needed a place to sleep that night. At least he’s kind and accommodating to these people in his delusions!
And then this morning…
• He cut off his beard with scissors!

While these things happened, I was home but obviously not paying close enough attention to all that he was doing. I was nearby in the shower when he started to cut off his beard but by the time I grabbed a towel and hopped out to stop him, it was too late. There was no turning back. He no longer has a beard.

So, in my defense, I never imagined that I would have to treat my husband like a toddler that needs constant supervision. Due to our well-behaved son, I am ill-prepared for this stage of caregiving to my hubby. This is all new to me!

But I’m learning. I’ve now hidden the scissors. I’ve put childproof locks on bathroom cabinets where there are medicines. I follow him into the bathroom. If he leaves the room, so do I. My neighbors know to tell me if they see him outside. I buckle and unbuckle his seat belt. I taste his food to make sure it not too hot. Like a worn-out mommy, I’m happy he takes naps and sleeps through the night.

I’ve also realized that even though people like helping and babysitting a well-behaved cute toddler, “Bob-sitting” a badly behaved 83-year-old is NOT something they will volunteer to do!

So, THANKS Kyle for making my parenting job an easy and gratifying one. Although I’m not prepared for the task at hand, at least I didn’t have to go through this madness before. Once is plenty.

But for now, I’m off to bed.
Mommy tip #1: Sleep when your baby sleeps.