When I awoke this morning, something felt different.
Not with Jacquelynn. This was within.
I went through the first portion of our day feeling incredible. All smiles. We went to the grocery, took a nice walk. It was a beautiful day, too, sunny and 80f with a cool breeze.
It wasn’t until we went upstairs to take an afternoon nap (yes, a nap; don’t judge) that I began to realize what was happening.
As I lay there, with Jacquelynn already breathing deeply in her sleep, I took a moment as I often do, to meditate. I closed my eyes, took a slow, deep breath, and as I exhaled, ever so slowly through my nose, a smile that would shame the Cheshire Cat split my face. I couldn’t help it. The huge grin was completely involuntary, but it wouldn’t go away. Not that I wanted it too; I just wanted to understand its genesis. Why was I smiling so wide and joyously?
As my breath deepened and my thoughts slowed, I silenced the questions and opened myself to answers. With a clarity I’ve seldom experienced, I felt, no, I knew that something had changed. Something spectacular had happened in our lives. Something paradigm-shifting.
Typing this now, 8+ hours later, I still have absolutely NO idea exactly what has changed, but I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that it has.
Something MARVELOUS has dawned in our lives.
I spoke to Jacquelynn about it, a little after our nap and after she’d awoken fully. Turns out she’d felt something “in the air” today, too. I recognize the likelihood that she had just been feeling what I was projecting, and I’m okay with that assumption. But personally, I believe she was feeling, best as she’s able, exactly what I was. At her healthiest, she is one of the most perceptive and judgment-free people I’ve ever met (it’s one of the things I found most attractive about her, early on), and she is more than sensitive enough to perceive this. The energy around her, around us, has brightened.
Something incredible has happened, and I’m excited to learn more.
My wife has Alzheimer’s.
Even now, many months in, it’s an incredibly difficult thing to type, let alone to say out loud. She’ll never hear this from my lips, but there are times when I see the dementia in her eyes. When her warm smile goes vacant and she waves at dogs as we drive by, it seems that anyone who looked would know instantly that she was ill.
Those moments still break my heart. Walking through the store and losing her seconds after turning my back, then trying so hard not to be cross with her for wandering off.
My wife has Alzheimer’s, and today I couldn’t stop smiling.
About the lead photo: in this house, Pooh=Joy. I took the photo in Orlando in 2010, on our last vacation. The only one we’ve ever taken in 18 years together.