Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Memories

The other day at the Health Center where my husband is living, they had a beautiful concert for the inmates. There was a violinist there from the Symphony Orchestra accompanied by a pianist and she was very good. I wheeled my husband into the activity room and stood behind his chair with my hands on his shoulders. He was holding my hands tightly. How I wish he could stand so I could get closer to him and lay my head upon his shoulder and feel his big 6ft. 2" frame again.

He loves classical music of all kinds and when he was young he had Public Radio on in his car all the time. We belonged to the Symphony and enjoyed some of the many wonderful concerts that came over Public TV. Football and basketball were his other favorites. Good thing I liked them too.

She began to play Memory from Cats and all of sudden my mind began whirling with a lot of memories of when we were young and different things that had happened in our 59 years together. I kept biting my lip so the tears would not spill. They were so vivid. And the feeling of loss was overwhelming. You see, my husband has Alzheimer's and all that is gone from his life now. But we have been blessed in that he is in his 7th year and still has not had some of the really bad things this disease can bring.

I remembered particularly when he used to come home from work. When he walked into the house, the whole building lit up. He always came in smiling and laughing and full of fun and the dog and the children loved it, as did I. He always smelled so good. The aftershave which he always put on so lavishly in the morning had worn off so that, combined with the faint cigar smoke and the outdoors, it was just right.

I remembered the bend of his head as he lit his pipe, the hand he put under his chin when he lay on the sofa or in bed on his back, how often he practiced making smoke rings when smoking his cigar. He never could get the second one to get inside the first one.

He was adept at throwing his voice and loved to use this talent whenever we were near a restroom somewhere. "Help! Help! Get me out of here". He had people scurrying around looking everywhere. He would confuse a salesperson or even a person at a cocktail party. He was so good at it, even his friends would never catch on at first.


I remembered his infatuation with trains. His dad was an engineer and so was his uncle and his grandfather. He would have been one too, but his father insisted he go to college. But we visited the train yards often, in the early years , to get Jon a ride into the station. Later he could hear the whistle of any train coming in and tell if it was his dad or his Uncle Art or some of the other engineers he knew so well. If we ever got lost while traveling he would find the nearest railroad tracks and follow them into town. Trains magazine was always by the throne in the bathroom --completely necessary he would say.


The music stopped and she went on to other themes but I had been on a trip-- to the past.

32 comments:

becky said...

Wow, Bernie,
Thank you for sharing such an intimate post with all of us out here in the blog world. The details of your memories with your husband were written so beautifully... I could picture the scenes you were describing. It sounds like you two have had a wonderful life together!

I wish your husband could stand, too. It sounds heartbreaking. Having worked in nursing homes, hospitals & rehab centers for the past 12 years... I have seen people experience so much loss, as you have described here in your post... and sometimes my heart breaks right along with them. I think Alzheimer's is one of the toughest.

How wonderful, though to have had the shared experience, love and memories of 59 years together!! That is an amazing thing...
thanks again for sharing.

Von said...

59 years already Bernie, I'll bet it has flown by, building beautiful memory on beautiful memory to make a magic album in your mind.What a handsome couple and what a grand life, so sad you have to be apart now.Thank you for telling us, you're an inspiration to all those young marrieds starting out.Bet you'd have some good advice and tips to share!

Bernie said...

Oh Bernie, my heart aches for you but I know you have accepted your husband's illness. You are such a loving and loyal wife to continue doing whatever you can to make Bill's life as comfortable as possible.......I know how the wave of memories can wash over you and turn you into a lonely heartache but knowing you have the wonderful memories, your children and grandchildren can help you through these heavy moments. Nothing ever remains the same sweetie, we just have to hold on tight to the good times as we gently move forward with life......:-) big hugs

Wander to the Wayside said...

Ah, Bernie, what a bittersweet post. I can cry upon hearing Memories from Cats after the first few cords, as well as the Memories that Barbra Streisand sang...and, under the circumstances you just described, it would be impossible to not cry and have memories wash over you. What wonderful ones you have, of a life well lived, and what a comfort they must be. They add so much meaning to what is going on with your marriage now.

When my dad was in the nursing home suffering from alzheimers, they used to have gospel groups come in (we're in the south), and the feelings radiated by the residents gathered around was palpable. Music, no matter the genre, has so much power!

Nani said...

It sounds like a beautifully bittersweet trip back. Music has a magical ability to do that.

I loved the story about your husband throwing his voice. What fun!

My husband has a subscription to Trains magazine and a few other train magaizines too. Train horns bring back some wonderful memories from my childhood too.

Deb Pierce said...

Thank you for sharing your warm and loving memories. It's a reminder to me to appreciate the moments of each day that my husband an I have together.

YOUR_FAVOURITE_ONE said...

Oh, it touched me so much that I hardly can hold back a tear. Great memory, great sharing with others, thank you!

inflammatory writ said...

Bernie, thank you for this beautiful post. I got choked up reading it. My husband and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary this June, and your post really drives home how important it is that I cherish all the wonderful memories we have made together. 59 years is amazing and very rare.

Kimberly said...

What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. I love when a certain song has the power to unlock such vivid memories and allows us to re-live the past...if only for a few moments.

Frank said...

Great post. I can see Bill conducting the musician with his hands as he was listening. What a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Mz. Candy said...

59 Years - what an accomplishment. I got teary eyed reading your post, and can actually feel the love you have for him.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I, too, remember that scent when he came home on a winter's day. Always a good time of day when he came home from work. Always came home happy. Something for all of us to remember in our own lives.

Lovely post.

Colleen said...

Bernie, I am in my first year of marriage, and your post made me tear up. I treasure the few memories I've already collected with my husband, and I look forward to the hundreds more we will collect over the years. How blessed you are to have 59+ years of memories with your husband. How blessed we are that you shared a glimpse of those memories with us.

yaya said...

What a lovely post. I'm sure your husband can feel all that love you have for him as you hold on tight to his hands. It sure brought a tear to my eye and also a smile when you describe how wonderful it was to welcome him home each day. This post has reminded me to cherish each day with my wonderful hubby. We will celebrate 36yrs in Aug.

yaya said...

What a lovely post. I'm sure your husband can feel all that love you have for him as you hold on tight to his hands. It sure brought a tear to my eye and also a smile when you describe how wonderful it was to welcome him home each day. This post has reminded me to cherish each day with my wonderful hubby. We will celebrate 36yrs in Aug.

Barb said...

So wonderful that you have these fond memories, Bernie. I hope they give you both pleasure and peace. My heart goes out to you.

Joey said...

Ah, Bernie...
I just read your comment on my blog. I'm one of your fans.

I kept a journal, and I'm to post what I wrote about Mimi.

Your husband, oh my... he sounds like a heartbreaker. I'm so glad you're writing about him. I love the part about the cigar and the smoke rings. Oh, and the trains! I love trains too.

Please keep telling us about him.

I tried to get Papa to write about Mimi, but he was just so "busy" taking care of her, and so tired.

I'm going to be posting my writing about Mimi each day... including the loss... after she died.

God bless you. You are truly a lady.

Joey

June said...

Such a touching post, Bernie.
The memories live on.

Sharon from Sharontology said...

simply beautiful...

LaraAnn said...

Music definitely does bring back alot of memories. My dad loves classical music too. I got pretty emotional reading your blog. I usually have trouble visualizing things that I read but your description put vivid pictures in my head. Thanks for the nice comments that you left in my blog.

Deb Shucka said...

This is so poignantly beautiful. I'm in awe of the life and love you shared with Bill and am so sorry for this special loss that you now share. What powerful and gorgeous memories you have to revisit. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Happy Frog and I said...

Such beautiful memories, I've often found certain songs will set my mind racing back into the past. Thank you for writing and sharing this. x

Nezzy said...

You pulled me into your memories with your sweet stories. You Hubby sounds like a remarkable man and what great memories you have of your long life together. My heart goes out to you sweetie, Alzheimer's is a horrific disease and watching someone we love...it just breaks my heart.

I will be prayin' for you and your precious Hubby. God bless you and have a wonderful weekend filled with sweet blessings from above!!!

YogaSavy said...

Just anted to let you know that I found you through the 6 Degrees of Blogging. I featured you on my blog.Do visit it
http://yogasavy.blogspot.com

bazza said...

Bernie, from his photo the kindness in his face can clearly be seen. This was a lovely post.

Professional1984 said...

AWESOME!

MyFrogs said...

I too have a guy with a scent that I adore. It's a mix of him and his "life". What a beautiful post of memories. Thanks for sharing.

Wanda said...

Bernie your words flow like a song themselves, such beautiful memories you have of your life together. You have a gift yourself, of being able to write of such for all posterity.

Thank you for your birthday wishes today...I have tried sending an e-mail reply twice, but it keeps returning. Thanks for your part in making my day special.

Love...Wanda

Ana (Ballet de Palavras) said...

Bernie,
How are you? It was a pleasure to receive your visit, again, and your comment on my “Ballet of words”.

As I said in your first comment on my blog, in my teens I was a dancer. The passion for ballet is intense and huge.
My blog reflects my “Ballets Tested” (which are the ballets that describe how I spent the day or night), “Unforgettable Ballets” (phrases that I admire films that do not forgotten and with which I identify), “Ballets Senses” (are the ballets about me - I feel moods), “Ballets Aware” (are the ballets that reflect what I think about a particular subject), “Ballets Seduced” (are the ballets with an aura of seduction as the name suggests), and finally the “Ballets Real” (are the ballets that comment in relation to real situations in my country).

I wish you tried to read the Real Ballet and the Ballets Aware.

I hope it's a pleasure for you to visit my Ballet Words, as is a huge privilege for me to visit yours.

A smile for you from Portugal.

Ana

P.S. Sorry, a few words also need to consult google

Ashleigh said...

My Grandaddy had Alzheimer's as well, and it was very hard on my Granny. I have always remembered how she said that she and grandaddy used to talk about what they were going to do together when they got old, and all the places they would go. I try to make sure that my family and I are making memories today, so that we have have no regrets. I'm glad you have some sweet memories too...

sanjeet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fragrant Liar said...

Bernie, what a lovely post. 59 years is a long time to spend with one person, and I admire those who can make it work. Those special little things that you recall about your husband are quite touching, as I'm sure those things only you know about him are as well.

Thank you for sharing so candidly and so well.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails