I Miss the Conversation
Right now the thing I miss the most about Stan is the easy conversation we always had; up until the last year year of his life when his health really started to decline, we never ran out of things to talk about: our childhood memories, our work, current events, philosophy, religion, and yes, even small talk about the weather! We had our quiet time too when we just in the same room reading our books or listening to music, and that was always very comfortable too. We never had to try to make conversation; it came naturally. During the last year, he seemed to be unable to really engage in much conversation. He listened to everything I said, and he would ask a question or make a limited response after awhile, showing me that he had heard and processed everything I had said, but somehow it just seemed as if it was too much effort for him to be able to really talk with me like he used to. At first I would babble on, but then I realized that it was ok, in fact more comfortable for us sometimes to just sit quietly and be together. People never really understood about the vascular dementia he had after the first stroke - they always asked me questions like "does he know who you are?". I tried to explain to people that Stan always was fully oriented - he knew the time, the place, the people, etc. His problem was with being able to concentrate, plan, problem solve. I used to say to people that if you took Stan and another person who had Alzheimers and sent them both on a walk, the Alzheimers person might end up not knowing where they were, and be unable to remember where home was or how to get there. Stan on the other hand would know exactly where he was and how to get home, but he would find that he had used up his strenghth and didn't have the energy to get home, or he would just start walking alone and ignore traffic lights, etc. because he would be so centered on the one task of getting home. He actuall went out a couple of times and was unable to get back to the assisted living facility on his own. Fortunately a worker happened by in their car and drove him the few blocks back home. One time it was winter and he had fallen on the ice. The workers there were such a great group of people who really cared about the residents. Now I can't find anyone to have a decent conversation with. Most of the people I end up talking to do all the talking. Some actually cut me off in mid sentence so that I cannot even make a statement about anything. Some regail me with their life story - usually strangers whom I will never see again. Others ramble on about everything I never wanted to know about their favorite topic. No one listens! Stan and I actually used to listen to each other, make suitable comments, ask questions, etc. It seems conversation has become a lost art - these days all people want to do is talk, talk, talk. I have had so many people tell me their problems lately that I feel as if I have a "Dear Abby" sign stuck to my shirt. Of course that is what I am doing with this journal entry - doing all the talking and most of it is complaining today. At least I'm not holding a captive audience - nobody has to read this or respond if they don't want to. Probably you all have similar feelings about losing your loved one, so at least I am not alone...........just lonely and frustrated!