That got me thinking about how small J’s world has become. J went away to college and moved south for work and north for my schooling. She traveled to Central America, Europe and Asia. She often went to New York. Now, a trip means going to the local coffee shop. A long trip is to the arboretum or the zoo.
I’ve confronted this reality while packing for my upcoming move from a 5-bedroom house to a condo. Do I keep her bathing suit? Will she ever go to the beach again? No, and no. Those days are gone now. It bothers me much more than it does her. She is content in her world with its current borders. And I filter my decisions through her doctor’s question, “Who is this for?”
In Jewish time, we are counting the Omer. This means we count each of the 49 days between the second day of Passover and Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah. Each day possesses a spiritual quality. Today is Netzach of Netzach, or Endurance in Endurance. One of my rabbis says in response to today, “We have the capacity to endure much more than we can imagine, and to prevail under the most trying of circumstances.”
This is comforting, although there is no prevailing over Alzheimer’s disease. For caregivers, there is only endurance and the capacity to enjoy small moments in the small world.
J had a good time at our last coffee shop outing. She especially enjoyed watching a little girl zooming around the establishment. J’s smile was big.
Which brings me to another of my sages who wrote, “Small world, isn’t is? Small and funny and fine.”