What have I lost and found this year? Right now the losses seem much bigger than what I have found. I have lost the future we had planned. I have lost my faith in humanity. I have lost my belief that Americans will do the right thing. I have lost my pride in being a Texan. I have begun losing my husband. I have lost time spent alone.
My biggest personal loss stems from the fact my husband lost his job last spring because he couldn’t remember how to do his job. After numerous tests, 6 months later we got the diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Surprisingly, it doesn’t put us in a financial bind…yet. We had planned to keep working until I qualify for Medicare and then get a motor home and travel. We got the motor home two years ago. As long as it doesn’t become a financial burden and I feel he can still keep making new memories, we will keep it. I just wish I could afford to take 2-3 months off from work now to see some of the things we wanted to see.
What I have found are some small things and maybe not so small. I have found confidence in driving the motor home, and I feel I drive it better than he did. I will be driving it solo for two days next week to meet him and friends in Big Bend. I drove it for 1400+ miles while on vacation to New Mexico this fall. He’s not allowed to drive anymore. While in New Mexico, I found I remember how to drive a stick shift, we borrowed the camp Jeep while there to do a little sight seeing in. I also found I am pretty good at driving off-road. I will be doing some of that next week too, I’ll be towing our Jeep.
I have also found the deepening friendship of three women I have mostly weekly Zoom meetings with. We talk about art and projects we are working on and just connect. I always feel better after talking to them. One of them has a home in Terlingua and I will see her next week.
I don’t know yet how this year is going to balance out, it may take some time to find out. The next few years probably aren’t going to be great as I lose my husband to Alzheimer’s, the early onset version moves faster. I have seen him fail noticeably the last 9 months. He is now on a drug that slows the progression of the disease and it seems to be helping. It can’t be stopped though. I don’t know how long before I have to quit my job and stay home with him. I will take it one day at a time and deal with what I have in front of me right now. I am probably not planning ahead as much as I should but sometimes I just can’t.
I have hope that in some ways next year will be better. At least there is a vaccine for COVID-19 and we will get it and can stop worrying so much about one thing. And we have a new president coming in who I hope will start to bring us back together again as a nation.
Time will tell.