Talking and Thinking

In an earlier comment I noted that it seems as though Cheryl’s brain is slowly being re-wired so that every passing thought comes straight though. Naturally this is confusing to me because I am unsure as to whether I need to respond or merely listen. We laugh about it occasionally as I will say, “Are you talking to me or are you just talking?” The answer could go either way. Through our first forty to forty five-ish years of marriage she did not do this. Often we could sit for hours quietly, enjoying ones company, occasionally vocalizing our thoughts. Talking about the kids. Telling some story about some occurrence at work. It is different now.

It seems to me that it is different in a couple of ways. She vocalizes her thoughts continuously, often at a low volume, an understandable (mostly) mumble and she will talk about nearly anything to total strangers. This last I don’t recall her doing unless we were thrown into some social situation were it was sort of expected (i.e. sitting at a common table on a cruise.) I worry, probably unnecessarily, that she will give up some piece of information that will hurt her (and us) somehow. It may be totally unfounded but I think it is this nervousness in me that causes some background anxiety. In this behavior is a susceptibility or proclivity to believe in the kindness of ones fellow man which in the case of a scammer is none existent. Hence the source of my anxiety.

Parkinson’s disease sucks. It sucks big time!

Waiting for Godot

Many years ago when Mom and Dad were still alive, we would take them to “Playhouse in the Park” a local theater here in Cincinnati. Mom always seemed to be interested in watching a live play. Dad confessed to me one time that he didn’t always understand what was going on but he went anyway to please Mom. (just one of his lessons to me about love)

One of the plays performed that season was Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”. On the ride home I asked Mom, “So, who do you think Godot is? and will they ever find him, will he ever come?” Mom answered almost immediately. Godot is death. The second half of the two part question didn’t require an answer. But for whatever reason, this play, and my mother’s answer stayed with me thirty years later. It seemed to me perceptive.

About 15 years later I found a copy of the play in Barnes & Noble. It reminded me again of that conversation and I bought it. Now from time to time I read it. This is one of those times. I picked it up again last evening and read a portion of it before going to bed. The play itself, dialog with notes about the set, movement, actor emotion is harder to read than a fictional novel. It is less visually developed and requires the reader to do that visualization. Curiously, merely one picture or sketch, fixes that visual. Forever. (Standard sets are simple. A dusty road in the country and a tree in the background maybe some rocks are all that’s needed.)

It is an allegory, of course, and allegory interpretation is in the eye of the beholder and interpreter. And my mother’s interpretation was just as valid as the scholars’ interpretation.

Scholars and critics talk of God and religion, humanity and spiritualism, existentialism philosophy. But, in some way, we are all waiting for death. How we wait, what we do while waiting, are we merely waiting or do we search for meaning in the wait? Those are some of the greater life questions that settled on me with a thump today.

Mom has been gone for a while now. Dad even longer but I think of them often when things around me spark some memory. I tell this story often about Mom. Mom was a saver of things to put things into. Boxes, baskets, bowls, crates, the clutter of life are kept in these. Or piled up over there until a suitable container is found. To this day I cannot throw a box away without hearing Mom’s voice in my head, “Don’t throw away that box! That’s a good box!” Life is full of boxes and crates and sheds and garages and storage facilities and warehouses but I have digressed.

Samuel Beckett is a person that I think I would have liked to know in life. Or, at least, I would have liked to sit and have a couple glasses of wine with.

Godot for me the present. One need not wait for it because its here. Lucky and Pozzo are the rest of the surrounding (cluttering) experience. Vladimir and Estragon are the dance with the present. They are waiting for Godot but Godot has come and they are too concerned with their dance to notice.

Early this Morning

Early this morning Cheryl got up to visit the bathroom as is often the case with older men and women. Storage capacity diminishes with age. As she looked at the clock I bought for her a while back to help with her orientation in space time – it has more information than just the time – she became confused about what the information meant to her.

Sunday? What does that mean? That’s the thought that passed through her head. She later described this to me. Puzzling through why she couldn’t seem to understand the significance of the word.

She needs (wants) to find an explanation for all the little deteriorations that occur. It’s hard to sort out those that belong to the Parkinson’s and those that are merely “gray hair”.

I guess it’s hard for me too. I tend to think that everything is somehow related to the Parkinson’s. And everything is in a way. A certain amount of independence is given up when one decides that it is unsafe to drive a car. Cheryl has decided that. But, now, because of that decision she has added a concern, a worry, an anxiety, that it is an inconvenience to me. She is right of course. My interests are not the same as hers but I have adjusted – I think. But what I have been unable to do with great success is dissuade her from her being concerned about “putting me out”. I have also been unsuccessful at giving me a bit of warning when she schedules my time so that I can plan a bit and rearrange things as necessary.

Sometimes this causes undue tension between us. Generally speaking Parkinson’s sucks.

Noticeable Changes

We have been together for a long time. Married for 50 years next year. Together as a couple 53 years this year. A long time. I guess we are comfortable with each other. I will call it love since I have no better way to denote it.

When we where younger, we could sit quietly together. No longer is this true. Parkinson’s has attached new wiring and Cheryl’s thoughts come directly to her lips. She now talks constantly. To things, about things, to insects and sometimes to me.

These are noticeable changes in behavior.

There is a deep emotional connection to these changes in behavior. They are a window to a view of the future. It feels like grief. It sucks.