The Day the Laundry Died


Today is the last day J will ever do laundry. For the last 30-plus years, it has been our division of labor that J is the clean clothes specialist. As the Alzheimer’s has taken hold and J has gotten more confused, I’ve thrown in a load now and then. I’ve also taken over matching socks. Pairing women’s trouser socks correctly is a task that likely would challenge even the most able among us. 

J and I communicate by Post-it.  Most mornings, before I leave for work, I put one that reminds her of the day’s activities on the refrigerator. That’s in addition to the calendar that hangs in the kitchen and is marked with appointments and social engagements. It’s also in addition to the phone calls I make during the day to check in and make sure J is where she is supposed to be. 

Monday’s Post-it said, “Please do laundry.”  It ddn’t happen.  I washed and dried a load last night, started a second load and put it in the dryer this morning.  I put a laundry basket full of clean clothes at the foot of the stairs and left a Post-it that said, “Please fold laundry in the basket and put laundry from the washer on the drying rack.”  When I got home, the clean clothes from the basket had been rewashed and were in the dryer. The delicate clothes that were in the washer this morning had been machine dried.  This is not the first time this has happened, so I have seen this day coming. 

I broke it to J that she can’t do laundry anymore. She cried and I did my best to comfort. It might seem odd to get sentimental about clothes washing. Lord knows many of us (including me) would be thrilled to have someone else do it for them. But for J and me, this is not just another task I will have to take over. It is another loss and J is aware that her capabilities are diminishing.  I just can’t find a positive spin on this one. 

One thought on “The Day the Laundry Died”

  1. Perhaps, you could put a basket of clean towels (or something unimportant) there every day for her. Write a note reminding her to wash them and thank her for doing it when you get home. She will have something to keep her active and busy and she will feel helpful. You will feel good that she feels good and no damage done to any clothes.
    I’m sorry you’re having to take over even more. Prayers for you.

    Liked by 2 people

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