It’s hard, isn’t it?
I saw you wipe away the tears today and it broke my heart. I wanted to get up from my chair and give you a hug…but I barely know you. Instead, I remained silent and still.
Your wife, Margie, has aphasia and it must be so difficult when you don’t understand her. She has attempted to “talk” to me several times, usually with a smile, and I simply nod and smile back. I have no idea what’s she’s trying to say, but as with my own mother, I wing it. Sometimes I tell your wife that she’s pretty or I like what she’s wearing to get her to smile. I imagine that Margie was very effervescent and outgoing before the aphasia. I imagine her a free spirit who was (and still is) very much in love with you.
I see the way she looks at you, even today when she was unhappy. Margie can feel the deep love that you have for her. I’m sure of it.
I don’t know her circumstances and haven’t felt the need to ask. I don’t know how you two met, if you have children or grandchildren, how Margie came to live in the same home as mom, or why she carries a baby with her. I can speculate, but I don’t feel it’s any of my business. You know her story and that’s good enough.
But, it’s still hard.
It’s hard when their anxiety, fear or unhappiness rears its ugly head in a way we can’t control or console. You tried to hug your wife, give her a kiss, offer your love…and the tears only became worse. I had never seen Margie cry like this before, which made me swallow my own tears. She is such a sweet little lady. I’ve been through this with mom several times – the anxious phone calls when she thought money was missing from her purse; when she was so paranoid that she thought she had been kidnapped; when she asked me to take her “home” in a voice of a lost child. I know exactly how you felt today at dinner. It sucks, right?
You’re not alone, Charlie.
There are hundreds of thousands of husbands, wives, sons, daughters, family members, and friends that experience the same with their loved one’s emotions and their own when it comes to dementia, Alzheimer’s and aphasia. They understand the rawness and unforgiving attitude of these afflictions. They have shed tears, same as you and I, in the pain we feel from helplessness. This special group of people have silent, loving thoughts and hugs for you so that you can travel the difficult road ahead.
There will be good days.
Margie will have good days. She’ll smile and have an engaging “conversation” with you. She’ll hold your hand and give you a knowing glance of love. She’ll be content to sit by you and accept your comforting kisses. Those are the days to focus on, Charlie. Those are the days that will bring you joy in the middle of something you can’t fix. Pay attention to them, soak them up, bank them for the teary days.
The good days make hard a little more bearable.
With silent love and hugs,