OUR UNPLANNED JOURNEY (continued)
Our pastor said, “stories are crucial to our lives. We don’t remember most of the moments of life we have. The parts that we do remember are those that tell a story. We don’t remember facts very easily, unless, they are connected by a narrative. It’s like music. Notes don’t mean anything by themselves, but a musician can put notes together so that they are beautiful and memorable. That’s what stories do. They make sense of facts. Stories are how we learn.”
He said, “a story includes five essential elements — setting, characters, plot, conflict and resolution.” He also said, “without stories, life is a random collection of facts and experiences. The way that we hold on to life lessons is to connect them to a narrative that makes sense.”
My husband worked as a site supervisor for Habitat For Humanity for six years. He has always liked helping people and making a difference in their lives. It’s what he loved most about working with Habitat. In his own life, he began seeing differences in how he was able to perform the various tasks involved in his work as well as in everyday living. Multi-tasking became more and more difficult, planning and sequencing became more challenging, problems involving math became confusing, crowds of people could become upsetting and finding the right words during conversation became more and more of a problem. He made the difficult decision to resign from Habitat.
After he retired, and while he was still working for Habitat, he also did home repair work for people – building decks, minor repairs, painting, etc. Again, he enjoyed helping and getting to know the people he met while working on these projects. Giving up Habitat and his home repair business could have left a big void in his life as far as people contact was concerned. But, since we belong to a church full of people who care and are like family, we are never lacking for contact and fellowship with others. Also, we enjoy the people we have met and still work with and see through volunteering at a local charity each week.
The neurologist has suggested that I get involved with a support group. A church friend gave me the name of another spouse to contact whose husband has Alzheimer’s. I haven’t done either yet. Maybe I should. I guess I’m just not ready yet. How do I know what to do? Maybe that’s just why I should contact someone who knows (someone who has already walked the journey). Mostly, I want to know how to help my husband walk this path. However, I know there are practical things I need to consider and plan for. Where do I start? Will he (we) be able to stay in our home? If we do, what about all of the things he has always taken care of like mowing, fertilizing the yard, minor household repairs, car maintenance, organizing paperwork for taxes, etc.
To be continued —-