Alzheimer's disease · Caregiver · Caregiving

Sanctuaries / March 30, 2006

Yesterday and today were good days. My mother’s home companion started yesterday, and I was surprised at how well my mother took it all. She’s fretting a bit about having to entertain Mary, despite my telling her that it should be the other way around. But when I got home from work on both days I found her sharper and brighter than usual. Oh, she still repeats certain questions but that blank look is gone, at least for now. Mary will be spending only 2 hours with her, three days a week, to start. Having a stranger come into the house like this is very radical for me–my family has always guarded the homestead carefully. It’s been a sanctuary. Having anyone inside feels like disrobing in public. I know that’s an extreme but, nevertheless, it’s proving to be yet another brick that’s crumbling.
I’m taking tomorrow off and doing a little day trip to Mystic Seaport. I’d like to visit the museum, which has an exhibit on the maritime history of African-Americans. I haven’t done anything like this since last summer, I think, when I visited the Alcott House in Concord. We’ll see. When my world starts to thin out and my peripheral vision shrinks, then it’s time to remind myself that there still is a wider world. Time to peek out of the foxhole. It’s alright to get away from this particular place for awhile.

Studying history has been doing it for me more effectively than literature lately. I’ve always been a reader of novels, especially the big nineteenth century British novels. But for the past ten years or so I’ve wanted more to read about eighteenth and nineteenth century New England culture. I did some genealogical research on my maternal grandmother’s family and found that all the names and dates need context. And so I ended up back in graduate school.

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