As we close out 2012, I remember well how I was feeling this time last year. Holiday time had been tough. Billy's needs exceeded my abilities, and I knew it was time for a residential placement. I can hardly believe that in less than a month Billy will have lived in Lexington Place for a full year. I am at peace about Billy living there with caregivers around the clock - all of whom care deeply about the residents and are trained to care for patients with dementia. A few of the aides work very well with Billy, and some of the others are less connected to him, but they get the job done. Dementia patients depend on routine, and the nursing home staff provides consistency in the nurses, but the aides rotate on a schedule I have never figured out. I find myself grateful for so much this past year. My list follows.
- Jesus. Lord and savior, comforter, Prince of Peace, the Great I Am.
- Billy. I'm thankful I can still touch him, hold his hand, kiss his lips, and stroke his face. He is drifting away from us in so many ways, but he knows that I love him, and many days, he knows my name. His spirit knows my spirit. I am grateful.
- The staff that cares for Billy each day. I can assure you they do not make enough money for all they do. One aide brings nice shampoos and bodywash, so she can shower the residents with something other than the all purpose soap that dries out their skin and hair. Another aide brings him burgers from McDonalds to snack on.
- Memories. The good ones especially, and the not as good ones because they are reality. Billy was big on tradition, and he didn't like to veer from it. He loved Christmas, and in spite of his years working with Wolfe Nursery where the Christmas season meant 12 and 14 hour work days often in very cold temperatures, he enjoyed decorating our house with lights that outlined our house and rivaled the Griswalds. Each year he got on the roof and freehanded the shape of Texas in Christmas lights, and then he wrote Merry Texas Christmas inside the outline.
- Family. We have always been a loving family and what I would consider a close family. With all the "events" in the last several years, we are more loving, more tightly knit, and living in close proximity of each other, and we never take each other for granted.
- Friends. How would we survive without them? We are bolstered daily by those who pray for us, check in with us, laugh with us and cry with us. I am touched by those who visit Billy even though it's so difficult for them to see him like he is now. I am humbled and grateful to those who so generously help with the financial burden of caring for Billy.
- My job. As a good friend often says, I love my job always, and on bad days I still like my job. I work with remarkable people who care deeply about children and always help me focus on what is important.
- I pray that Billy remains stable for as long as possible. For the over 31 years I've been married to Billy, he never weighed less than 200 pounds, and I never minded that. I pray that his weightloss will stabilize because he's lost over 50 pounds and a great deal of muscle mass.
- A cure for Alzheimer's Disease that will spare generations to come.
- I pray for the successful removal of my mom's tumor and a cancer-free life for her.
- I pray that my dad's disease stabilizes.
- Reconciliation and forgiveness in broken relationships.
I've struggled with writing lately. Everytime I decided to write, I couldn't find my positive spin. The holiday season has been busy, stressful, and some of the days seem blurred. I'm coming out of my fog and seeing the positives again. Happy New Year to all, and thank you for reading. God is faithful.