Well, let me put it to you. There are good days and bad days. The bad days I would say the light is out. On the good days, I come to her and embrace her, I kiss her, and on the good days she will kiss me back. And she used to have kind of a smile that when she would walk into a room, she would light up the whole room; and then I see a vestige of that smile and my heart just melts. And I find that very moving, it brings tears to my eyes and it’s a kind of a recall of what once was. So, then they also, you get practical advice from the Alzheimer’s. Just give you a small example. My wife lost the capacity, let’s say to swallow a pill, so I brought this issue up and they said, well you buy a pill cruncher and then you crunch it and you put it into food or liquid. Well, after you hear this it sounds obvious, but if you haven’t been there it’s an innovation. So, that’s kind of a practical advice.
So there are practical things and then there are the emotional psychological things, and it becomes like a family. You develop very close rapport with the other people in the group, and then also some people in the group I go out with. So you have company to go to the opera, to the theater, to plays and to be able to do things with, so you’re not locked in. And it’s important not to have your life defined exclusively by the condition of your wife because you have to have capacities for renewal.
And then the third piece I want to say is what’s important is to do what I referred earlier, to what my wife did with her trauma, and that is to find some way of using that trauma and to create something with it. For example, I published a booklet of my wife’s tapestries and I wrote comments on each tapestry, how it advanced the process of self unshacklement from her trauma. Well, writing the book, it’s interesting on an overt level. I wrote it because I wanted the grandchildren to have some notion of their grandmother in their prime and not as they’re experiencing her now. But I see that underneath it all, I was trying to retrieve the past and that condition when she was my full partner.