When I was 21 I worked full time at a bank and in the evenings, my colleagues and I would go out to formal dances. They were popular in my day. You didn’t need to have a date, we’d go in groups of two and three. The girls would line up on one side of the room and the guys would ask us to dance. It was pretty traditional, cookies and punch, big band music, girls in skirts and men in ties.
Well, this one evening, I went with my girlfriend and we were on the “clean-up crew.” At the dance, I’d met a very nice, handsome young man and he offered to drive me home. I said yes and that I would be late because I had to clean up after the party. He agreed but when I went to meet him for the ride home, he’d offered another girl a ride as well. I slid cleverly into the front seat next to him so that the other girl would have to be dropped off first. My scheme worked and we dated for a year before we ultimately agreed to be married.
We had a great marriage. We traveled a lot as a family and as a couple. We put our three kids through college and have four beautiful grandchildren. We have a community of life-long friends. Life has been full.
After about fifty-two years of marriage, my beloved husband started behaving confused. He couldn’t remember basic skills, like paying the bills or where the gas station was to fill up the cars with gas. He used to be a master fixer around the house, but now, he couldn’t focus enough to repair things. I noticed he was not his usual self, but denied it was anything significant. His driving became erratic and I didn’t want to let him have the car keys anymore. Thank goodness my niece was able to help by saying she needed to buy a car and asked him if we would we sell her his car. He went along for the sake of helping her but he was devastated at not being able to drive anymore. He would sit in his chair and watch television for hours on end. He knew when it was time to eat lunch or when I’d be home by what t.v. show just ended.
This went on for about six years. One day he looked at me and asked me when the other woman would be arriving. I stopped breathing. What was he asking? “You know, the other woman who lives here? The one with the red hair,” he asked. I have white hair now and had red hair as a young woman. I said, “no one else lives here with us. I’m your wife. Do you not know who I am?” He seemed to realize he was upsetting me and said yes, but it was clear. My husband was gone. He no longer remembered who I was.
He died three years ago and I miss him every hour of every day. I still say good night and good morning to him and in response hear stillness. I still have not adjusted to the complete silence of the house.
Has this happened to you? What advice would you give to someone in this situation?
Please share your response in the comments section below.