Grief Comes Early

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Grief Comes Early

Postby CarlaL48 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:18 am

The somber expression on the neurologist’s face spoke volumes – correction: screamed volumes. A synopsis of Dale’s symptoms coupled with an overview of what to expect with atypical Parkinsonism (no precise diagnosis at that point) left us scratching our heads about our future.

I asked the doctor if my 69-year-old husband could still drive for a while. Mustering his best diplomacy, the doctor asked Dale, “How would you feel if a dog ran out in front of you, and you hit it? Worse, how would you feel if a little child ran out in front of you, and you couldn’t stop?”

Dale paused, trying to take in the doctor’s questions. Then, “I guess I’ll give the truck keys to Carla.”

Dale never drove again after that conversation. Neither of us talked about it for a couple of days. We went home and stared at the truck he loved, each wondering how all our times together in the truck could be history already. My late mother drove until she was 87, giving it up reluctantly when some of her children hid the car keys.

Drip-drip-drip. Another piece of Dale chiseled away. Another surreal impact on our lives. From the time a teen-aged Dale glimpsed his first muscle car and turned up the amp on a Beach Boys tune, driving became part of him. For a man, turning over the keys not only means forfeiting his independence, but also forfeiting his masculinity. Dale wasn’t ready for this.

Drip-drip-drip. The realization dawned slowly on me that I would henceforth be doing all the driving. The grocery shopping, the chauffeuring, all the quick errands like grabbing a gallon of paint at Home Depot, or picking up chlorine tablets at Leslie’s, dropping off the cleaning, making a bank deposit – all that are typically shared by a married couple based on who’s available or whose commute wound by the store. All this now fell to me, and I wasn’t ready.

Somehow, we adjust our routines to accommodate the newest loss, reinventing ourselves – again. And we mourn -- because grief comes early in progressive diseases, and takes up residence. Its unwelcome presence permeates our daily lives, and it promises to stay until long after Dale’s and my last good-bye.
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Re: Grief Comes Early

Postby eplowman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:48 pm

Carla,

A perceptive, heart-tugging post. Your words express so well what probably many of us here have experienced and felt so deeply about. Again, living proof that we are not alone in coping with the ravages of this disease.

I, for one, remember vividly the afternoon when my late Rose arrived home, laid the car keys on the kitchen table, and apologetically announced that "I'm sorry, but from now on, you need to do all the driving." Her decision (or surrender!) followed several spectacular near misses, a couple of fender benders, including one in our small community parking lot, and mowed-down bushes and flowers bordering a curb and sidewalk. I felt both relief and great sadness.

You write so well, Carla. Your writings are a joy to read here in the forum, but they also belong in books, where they can be accessed by greater numbers of readers. Here's hoping....

Ed
|My wife of 56 years was Rose b. 1930, dx 1999, symptoms from 1997; d. 06/21/08; PSP-rs autopsy confirmed.
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Re: Grief Comes Early

Postby CarlaL48 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:19 pm

Thank you, Ed. The stories of you and your beloved Rose have been one of my greatest inspirations on this site. However you spend your days now, you're never too busy to lend an ear or spare a bit of advice. I admire you immensely.

(You're also a favorite of mine because you knew to place a comma between "Hi" and "Carla" in an earlier post. :wink: In this techno-abbreviated world where kids aren't being taught grammar, much less punctuation, it's much appreciated. I'll now doff my curmudgeon hat.)

Your friend,
Carla
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Re: Grief Comes Early

Postby Robin » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:24 am

Carla,
You do write beautifully. I hope you collect these posts into a book.
Robin
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