ELECTRA: “Thanks for the sing along, but, before we takeoff, can you tell me how come you left out the last stanza?”.
ME: “Ya mean … When they’ve all had their quarrels and parted, We’ll be the same as we started …?”
ELECTRA: “Exactly! So, did your friends have quarrels which you didn’t? And if not, did you remain just the same as you started?”
ME: “Hmmm, it’s complicated. As far as the first line re quarrels, thinking back, the answer is YES. Many friends did have quarrels and some even parted, as in … they got divorced. But DJ and I never parted, despite quarreling for a year or so before and after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”
ELECTRA: “And the quarrels were about …”
ME: “We quarreled about money. We quarreled about the house. We quarreled about travel. And we quarreled about our future. But, our quarrels were always one sided with me doing all the complaining and DJ contributing only silence. In actuality, since a quarrel is between two or more people, I guess I could say, we never did quarrel. However, that, by itself became the main issue since resolution was impossible leaving me in a state of anxiety. This went on for over a year until I suggested we go to a marriage counselor. DJ neither agreed nor disagreed so I decided to seek help on my own. My Medicare plan selected a psychologist based on location and during the initial phone interview I explained my fears re: Dave’s condition. Then I was told he was unable to schedule an office visit until Dave’s questionable condition was medically diagnosed. So, I was stuck.”
ELECTRA: “How did you get unstuck?”
ME: “Several months after that, I received an afternoon phone call from DJ’s best friend and Mellon Bank co-worker. I had just walked into the house after having had lunch with an old friend. The phone was ringing. I rushed to pick it up. A familiar male voice said, ‘Hi, Dylan, it’s Michael,’ and then, in a somber tone, ‘there’s something wrong with DJ.’ It only took those few words to push us both down the preverbal rabbit hole. I held DJ’s hand tightly as we fell, headlong, spinning into the bizarre world frequented by others who have dementia along with caregivers who came along for the wild ride. Along the way we met many a Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and a slew of Kings and Queens.”
ELECTRA: “What about the next phrase in that stanza? The one that says, ‘We’ll be the same as we started.’ What about that? Did you remain the same?”
ME: “Easy peasy— No! Neither of us were the same as we started. No-one ever is. Obviously, since we all change physically, emotionally, and psychologically along with whatever situational adaptations we make, staying the same is impossible. As for DJ, by the end of his life, he was reduced to the infant stage of complete dependency, while I, after years of trauma, although left with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorders) became more independent.
ELECTRA: “Speaking of moving on — our passengers are buckled in and ready to go so — where to next?”
ME: “It’s obvious, we’re going back to the future — or at least as far forward as 2007. Remember how cold it was just before we left? I had had an important phone call from ASHA asking me to write an article for the June issue of their Leader magazine. (Read article here.)
ELECTRA: “Of course I remember … I never forget anything! You needed time to write that article so we left the you from 2007 to complete your work while I transported the you from now along with your passengers back to 2001 which we are now ready to leave. So, shall I take you forward to that same winter day?”
ME: “No! Although I want you to return forward to 2007, let’s land, once again behind my house, but put us there on a warm summer day. Hmmm, let’s go now to the afternoon of July 16.
Stay tuned to learn more …
Should I call you Dylan or Gallie?
I am reading your and DJ’s story
Sometimes I get chills. Sometimes I smile.
Sometimes I cry.
All of the times … I think that you are totally amazing … your desire to find every possible way to communicate is so creative, thoughtful, admirable, and full of love .
Just read your response and thank you so much! You, my dear friend, understand so well the magic hidden behind my words. And I understand the magic for you when you find pennies on the ground from heaven above!