Who’s Comforting Whom


So the deed is done – J is at a personal care home and I’m home writing this.  In ways, it was easier than I expected.  J didn’t get sullen or angry or say anything hurtful.  To the contrary, she was cheerful and even excited.  Several times she said to me, “This is good.”

Last night, our daughter came to dinner and I cooked one of J’s favorite meals (spaghetti with white clam sauce).  The atmosphere was almost normal.  We were grooving to the sounds of American Routes, one of our favorite radio shows.  I went to get the decanter and chose a stepladder that was too short.  I tried to stretch and hit my head sharply on the corner of the cabinet door.  It really hurt.  I heard laughter (from J, of course), and felt anger rising.  For some reason it felt like a switch flipped.  I walked into the pantry, put my temple against the wall and began sobbing.  The shaking kind.  Who came to comfort me?  J.  I cried in her arms.

Today was similar.  We had to meet with the nurse and unpack her stuff and sit down with the administrator to sign papers.  We were seated at lunch with some other residents but across the table from one another.  It was an excruciating meal.  The service was unbearably slow, and the other residents had little to say.  Every time J and I made eye contact, her expression said, “It’s going to be alright.”

I left J after lunch at a wine and cheese event.  (Yes, they apparently drink wine at 1 pm.)  There was live music and I saw her take a seat apart from the other residents in the back of the room.  Then one of the residents walked up to J, took her hand and led her in to sit with the others.  So I think it will be alright, just probably sooner for J than for me.



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