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Alzheimer's Life marriage Memoirs Parkinson's Disease

Today in (My) History

January 12 (the day I started this post) would have been my husband Jimmy’s and my 42nd wedding anniversary. We married in January of 1980, him fresh out of high school and me between college semesters. Our honeymoon consisted of a weekend trip to a town 40 miles away. We had to be at school and work that Monday, after all.

We married at my childhood church with about 50 guests in attendance. I bought my wedding dress and veil out of the Montgomery Ward catalog and didn’t have it altered. I didn’t even realize that might have been needed. My two sisters were my bridesmaids and they wore coordinating pink dresses. The groom and two groomsmen, his brothers-in-law, wore rented tuxes, that 70’s version with the ruffled shirt.

January 12, 1980

We didn’t even hire a photographer, and our cake came from the local grocery store. But by golly, we were married, and we made it last. Through thick and thin (both of us!), through poor and not-so-poor but definitely not rich, and through gain and loss (births of our children, deaths of his family members), we trudged on, committed to the vows we took in 1980. There were times when we didn’t like each other very much, when we wished we could walk away, when we wondered if this is all there is. Everyone does. But we were committed.

And what a surprise when the years passed so quickly and we found ourselves with no children at home and with grandchildren! What a blessing that we lived long enough and persevered long enough to enjoy grandchildren together!

Too soon though, Jimmy started showing symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. He was only in his mid-50’s. Both his mother and his older sister had passed away at age 59 from Alzheimer’s. We didn’t want to believe that it was happening to him as well. And with the Parkinson’s in the mix, his struggle seemed twice as difficult.

Picnicking on vacation in 2018

I lost him January 16, 2021 at age 59. I lost my best friend and lover, my supporter, my cheerleader, my confidante, my rock. I miss him. Happy anniversary, honey. Until we meet again.

XOXO

Categories
Alzheimer's Memoirs Parkinson's Disease

January the Bleak

I’m not going to blame January for my bleakness, but my present is bleak and it is January. Hubby passed away on the 16th, just after our 41st anniversary on the 12th and my birthday on the 6th. His suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is over, and his passing was peaceful, and for that I am thankful. I’m quite positive he is with the Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven, and for that I rejoice.

Jimmy Leon Coker

However, all that doesn’t make the quietness of the house any louder, the days any busier, the nights any cozier. It’s just me and Stella the dog rattling around this old house now. I am grateful that it’s only 1600 square feet and not 6000.

I don’t have to figure out what to fix for supper and I don’t have to defer to his television choices. I don’t have to do his laundry and I don’t have to clean up his messes. I can vacuum the floors any time I want to without worrying about disturbing him. I can leave the house and not worry about getting home because he needs me. I can eat and sleep whenever I want. This is all because I am alone.

1979

People ask me how I’m doing. I think I’m okay right now. I’ve always said I would be fine alone. I’m an independent person. Will I feel the same way next week? Next month? Next year?

The great hunter

Only God knows what happens next. He knew my fears about not being able to care for Jimmy or afford to pay for care, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about that very long. He knows what tomorrow and the next day and the next year will bring. I trust Him to bring it to pass. I choose not to worry about it. I’m really not alone. He is here with me.

What will I do? I will continue planning Jimmy’s memorial service. I will continue making phone calls to insurance companies, government agencies, and the rest. I will treasure the memories I have of our life together, and I will spend every minute I can with my children and grandchildren. I will thank God every day for blessing me with 41 years with a loyal, devoted, loving man, husband, and father. And I will miss him every minute of every day.

XOXO

A rare snow on our East Texas property just a couple of weeks ago.
Categories
Parkinson's Disease

Thank you, Parkinson’s (with apologies to Jimmy Fallon)

My husband has Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.  At the same time.  Some people say Alzheimer’s with Parkinsonism.  It doesn’t matter what it’s called.  It sucks.  So I’m coming out of the closet with it.  Maybe this will help someone else.  I’m sorry, kids.

Thank you, Parkinson’s. . .

  • for destroying our dreams of retirement.
  • for changing my sweetheart of 41 years into someone I barely recognize.
  • for making me a caregiver.
  • for taking away my strong man.
  • for taking away my handyman, mechanic, and lover.
  • for changing our family dynamic.
  • for giving me the job of keeping up with six doses of medicines per day.
  • for giving me the job of knowing when the dog is bothering him and keeping her away.
  • for giving me the responsibility of getting someone to take care of the yard and home maintenance and repair.
  • for the obligation of pretending that what he is saying is right when I know it is wrong or untrue.
  • for my new job of cleaning the bathroom every day.
  • for the job of listening to reports of his bodily functions and aches and pains.
  • for changing the way I see myself and my husband and our relationship.
  • for taking away things I enjoy because caregiving is more important.
  • for keeping me home when I want to travel, go camping, or see the grandkids and kids.
  • for the knowledge that it won’t get better.
Yet I must add this.  Thank you, God, for being there through the good times and bad, for your Holy Word and your promises to be with us through it all.  
 
“Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
 
XOXO
Categories
Life teaching

Wedded Life Wednesday: A Temporary Discombobulation

I’ve been feeling sad the past couple of days, attributing it to my teacher’s soul feeling a bit left behind by the whole world going back to school.  Not that I really want to go to school myself, but there’s a weird feeling of restlessness and purpose-less-ness after thirty years of the August frenzy of preparing classrooms, offices, lessons, and families for the resumption of school activities.
 
I even went so far as to do some job searching online last night, but nothing I saw in the postings appealed to me.  I could be a bank teller, but that would mean 9 to 5 and possibly Saturdays.  Nah. . .
Retail stores will soon be hiring seasonal help for the holidays but that would mean long hours on my feet dealing with the public.  Nah. . .
 
Food service?  Nah, double nah!
Child care?  Ha!  That’s a triple nah!
 
In a funk, I watched three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy last night, ignoring my dirty bathrooms and unclean floors.  That cheered me up.  Not.  I never realized that Grey’s Anatomy was so sad!  But I’m hooked, and on the third season now.  Only six more to go to catch up. . .
 
But back to my doldrums.  This morning I got up in a better mood, and I had a plan.  I got my husband off to work and I brought some more items to my booth at Uniques & Antiques.  I even sold one of my items while I was there!  Then I took my car to the Ford dealership and got the trailer hitch electrical connection fixed so we can tow the Scamp next month.
 
And I thought again about yesterday’s discombobulation.  I do have purpose.  I realized this when I waved goodbye to my husband as he drove off to work this afternoon.  For most of our adult lives I have not been here to see him off to work in the afternoons.  I haven’t been able to stay up to greet him at night when he comes in from work.  Now I can.  We keep weird hours, sleeping in every morning and staying up extremely late, but it’s what he wants me to do, and now that I am retired, I have the freedom to do it.
Me with the love of my life!
My purpose for now, until God reveals something else, is to maintain a loving and comfortable home for my family.  And also to write this blog.  Who knows?  Someday it may “go viral” and earn enough money to pay off all our debts.  Until then, I will do what the apostle Paul did and choose contentment.  
Categories
Life

Wedded Life Wednesday: If Once is Good, Twice Must Be Better?

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you may remember that I did some house and dog sitting for my son and daughter-in-law recently.  Each time they left town, they had evening flights to their destinations on Thursday, which is the day that I work at the flag shop, selling flags and wrapping gifts.  I decided to work all day, come home to grab my stuff and feed the dogs, and then make the 90-minute drive to my son’s house.

I told my husband, “I’m going to work Thursday, come home and feed the dogs, get my bags, and go to Matt’s.”

Tuesday of that week Jimmy said, “So, what are you going to do, take off work?”

“No,” I explained, patiently.  “I’m going to go to work, come home, feed the dogs, get my bags, and then go.”

Wednesday the same conversation:  “So, what’s your plan on Thursday?  Are you going straight to Dallas from work?”

“No, I’m coming home, feeding the dogs, getting my bags, and then going.”

Thursday morning before I left for work, I kissed him goodbye and told him to call me when he got home that night.  He works nights and when he drives his motorcycle I always like to know that he made it home okay.  “Don’t worry about the dogs.  I will feed them before I go,” I told him.

Late Thursday evening I am sitting in my son’s front room, or the “man cave,” watching his expansive TV, and my phone rings.  It’s Jimmy the hubs checking in.

During the course of our conversation he mentions that he is feeding the dogs.
“What?  I already fed them!” I cry.
“Well, they are eating.  They acted like they were hungry!”

Those little posers.  Just put the old sad eyes on Dad and he will feed you again, they conspired.  AND, who didn’t hear me not once but at least THREE times say that I would feed the dogs before driving to Dallas?

But, I’m not complaining.  That’s just how it is here in married land.  I fought it for at least twenty years but hey, who’s counting?  At least it wasn’t medication, and it keeps life entertaining.  And my dogs a little on the plump side.  Like Mommy and Daddy.

Look at those innocent faces!

XOXO