The Stranger

Teresatalk

The Stranger

Teresatalk
cowboyThe other day I had an experience that gave me food for thought about my husband's dementia. After a quick stop at the grocery store without my husband, I opened the back door of my car to help my little granddaughter get in her car seat and fasten her seat belt. What a shock when we saw a total stranger sitting in the front passenger seat, all buckled in like she was actually going somewhere with us.

She turned around and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I must have the wrong car." I graciously accepted her apology, just as her husband came up to our car, helped her out, and apologized for her too.

It was all too clear that dementia had reared its ugly head when I saw that their vehicle was parked right in front of mine, but it was a truck, of a totally different color. Oh, boy, did she have the wrong car!

Then it dawned on me the difference it would have been if it had been a 6-ft., unshaven, and oddly-dressed old man in my passenger seat, instead of a harmless-looking old lady. I'm sure my shock would have been closer to fear, if that stranger had been a male of any description sitting there unexpectedly.

All my married life I've felt safe in the presence of my husband. As an ex-cowboy, truck driver, and logger, he couldn't have been a better bodyguard and protector of our family. But that same intimidating presence is now working against him.

When he starts to wander like that little old lady did, life won't be as simple as making an apology to the owner of a car. It's my turn to protect my husband, as much as I can, for as long as I can. This is why we stay home a lot.

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