Complacency Bleeds

He fell off a cognitive cliff a couple of weeks ago. It took me by surprise several times a day as I realized he didn’t know who I was any longer. Now I am no longer surprised, just heartbroken…repeatedly. Every time he looks at me and asks who I am, my heart cracks again.

When my partner of forty years leaves suddenly, but not in a tangible sense, I simply don’t know what to think or what to do. He has bits of time where he is back, but he doesn’t even know he was away. Acting normal is ineffective, and as I found out, can be dangerous.

He still wants to feel normal and useful and I will admit I was feeling lazy at the time, so he went next door to take care of the neighbor’s cats while they are away. The sun had set and it was very dark. When he came back he was bleeding from a dozen small cuts and scrapes on his hands and legs. He had fallen over a curb in the dark into rocks and bushes. He was not happy and in a bit of pain. I felt terrible – sad and guilty.

Things have changed and I must change with them. I can no longer be normal. He is on a different level of awareness and I must be more aware in order to protect him as much as I can. Of course, I know I can only do so much. He has more cliffs and falls ahead and my love and attention cannot stop his progression. Again, my heart cracks.

image credit: Bjorn Christian Torresson

One comment

  1. I wish I could say something that would be comforting. It must be heartbreaking to have someone who has known you for so long not recognize you. I can only imagine the emotions you must experience. Maybe there is someone who can offer suggestions to help you know how to respond. You have to remind yourself that this is the condition, not the “real” person.

    You can’t be with him every minute, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if something happens when you aren’t right there. You simply can’t prevent or control all possible situations. I hope you have support from other family members since you need to think of yourself some of the time, no matter how it may worry you if you aren’t constantly present.

    I won’t try to offer advice, but I will say again that I am so sorry for both of you. This isn’t how things are supposed to be. Take care of yourself. That is every bit as important as taking care of him.


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