Once upon a time…
I was “I.” I moved at my unique pace. I had freedom and choice. Freedom in the solitary pleasure of introversion. I could–and did–choose to spend hours or whole days absorbed in my singular pursuits, until my own voice startled me.
My partner came and went, doing his good work, joining me for our mutual interests. He stayed up late reading after I fell asleep. I rose in the dark to meditate alone as the dawn peeked in. The weaving of together and alone protected my “I.”
The “yous” we were to each other had a rhythm like breath. You fix the vacuum, I shop, I get the oil changed, you make dinner, you mow the lawn, I call the plumber.
As his memory and management skills began to fade, my “I” became more of an “i.” A lower case i overshadowed by a weighty WE. “Are WE going to bed now?” “What are WE doing today?” “Are WE going to watch TV or read?”
Nowadays I think for “WE.” I plan and make meals for two, pack suitcases for two, manage finances for two, choose daily clothing for two. As others in this situation have said, it’s like caring for a toddler, but without the promise. The only path is down.
And though I often feel like this:
here I count the blessings WE do have: good health, loving family and friends, stimulating activities, and a variety of resources and support.
In our area, we make use of:
-Ulster County Office for the Aging — 845-340-3456 (caregivers’ support, inexpensive legal assistance, respite care and more)
-Jewish Family Services of Northeaster New York – Albany — 518-482-8856 (counseling, aging in place, transportation and more)
-local Community Center (ping-pong, senior lunches, outings, games days, and more)
-Lifetime Learning Institute SUNY New Paltz — 845-257-2892 firstname.lastname@example.org (variety of classes offered in fall and spring semesters)