Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Paying Tribute, Enjoying the Wonders too

This journey was to pay tribute, relax and be present with Curtis in his new home at The Terraces in Chico.  When Jeff and I arrived, Curtis was confused, thinking we'd come a day late.  We unpacked my stuff, then Dave (Curtis's son) drove Jeff to Curtis's old home where he would spend the two nights.  Jeff then joined us for dinner of soup ad sandwiches.
    It is sad for me to see how his mind works in  mysterious  ways now.  He knew us, and could follow a conversation, but moments later he would ask repetitive questions that showed he now has a very short memory that has difficulty retaining what we 'd just told him.  Happily he joined Jeff and me for the Sunday night movie, Shakespeare in Love, a great movie for all of us to enjoy; it was the first he has been to, so here is hoping he'll get to more now.  We wandered the halls, passing the fitness center, the pool table room, the library, and several areas one could sit on a sofa and hang out with friends.
    Curtis moved here in August, but is reluctant to even walk outside anymore, though the grounds are lovely.  It seems enough to read in his apartment, and get to meals.  It was hard to say if he is making new friends or mostly staying with familiar routines.  I attended a memoir class and shared some about Curtis's childhood;  the women were lovely, and now know a bit about him, so may reach out when they see him.   It must be so hard for a private, introverted person, used to years of living alone and mostly in complete silence (no radio or music, no TV now) to engage in conversation with folks he doesn't know.  He could talk easily with Jeff and me, for we are friends he has known for years.
   Photos in the apartment or dining area are on Jeff's camera; as these photos show, I  love to be outside in the fresh air, and his very hot, stuffy apartment was hard for me to function in; a man once proud of being organized has clutter everywhere now.  It doesn't seem to bother him, but I am accustomed to my own clutter.  Living with another's is harder, for I didn't know where anything belonged, and needed to keep track of my own stuff--not easy under the circumstances.
   It was good to visit and bring some joy and light into his life.  Also, sad to see him now when even two years ago he could drive and make decisions not possible anymore.  I am glad he no longer needs to cook at all, as that was becoming precarious for him with his mind not able to track the many tasks involved in buying and preparing meals.  This is a sad reality for so many older folks, including many where I live who no longer cook at all, so meals become a real challenge for them.   I am so grateful I have caregivers who help me a lot in the kitchen, and I have the ability to keep finding and training them; it is challenging and sometimes overwhelming, but I can still do it.  Also grateful I am committed to food and supplements that help my brain as well as body, and both mental and physical exercises; yes they all take time, money and discipline, but they make a real difference, too!
   Today I need to transition back to home life.  Am so grateful for Jeff driving me as well as his calm, steadfast dependability.  Mt. Shasta was in her full snowy regalia on our return (covered with clouds going south), and we had a quick picnic lunch on  a table in the sunshine in Dunsmuir, as the park there is closed this time of year.   Roads over Siskiyou Summit were dry.   It was sobering to see the low water levels at Shasta Lake as well as Emigrant Lake; we dearly need the rains and snow this year!
   It was a tough trip in some ways,  but helpful to enjoy the beauty of the countryside to and from Chico, and Shasta was magnificent, always a welcome sight.  Good-bye for now!

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