Moving On as a Widow
Here We Go!
One morning, in the early stages of Dan’s dementia, I was upstairs at my desk, staring at the computer screen. Music came through my headphones, and the lyrics of a Neil Diamond song spoke to me:
The story of my life
Is very plain to read
It starts the day you came
It ends the day you leave
You're the story of my life
And every word is true
Each chapter sings your name
Each page begins with you
I walked downstairs. Dan was working on his computer at his desk in his office. I played the song for him and said that was how I felt about our life together.
As Dan’s dementia progressed, I realized that those words could no longer be as I had planned. He came into my life when we were twelve and was part of it for 70 years. My life revolved around him. But my life would not end the day he left - or maybe life as I knew it ended the day he left.
Many of us go through the pain of being a caregiver and a widow to a place of moving on. Given life’s circumstances, we have to grow and change over the years.
I turned 85 years old earlier this week. I want to live to be 100 and be independent - to remain healthy, write, pursue my hobbies, do things with my family, and travel. The following article is encouraging.
Dr. Marie Bernard, deputy director of NIH’s National Institute on Aging, says, Now, if you reach age 65, the likelihood that you’ll make it to 85 is very high. And if you make it to 85, the likelihood that you’ll make it to 92 is very high. So people are living longer, and it’s happening across the globe.
We know we’re ready to move on when we have support in place. For example, I live in an apartment with my two cats and am within walking distance of 12-15 restaurants, two grocery stores, and many other services. I am healthy and mobile.
I know how to use Uber because I no longer drive, and Door Dash or Amazon Fresh to deliver meals and groceries when necessary. I have a house cleaner once a month. My daughter lives within a mile, and we get together regularly. I’m well-prepared to stay here for several years.
We know we’re ready when we have tools in place. I loosely follow the Mediterranean Diet, exercise, pursue my purpose, and look for nuggets of joy in my life.
With these things in place and a changing attitude, I’m prepared to begin the next pages and chapters of my life - to continue aging well on my own.
That morning, as I stood beside Dan at his computer, I was filled with love for him, and my heart remains filled with that love today as I move on.
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If you want to contribute to my work, consider donating to the Alzheimer's Association. This link takes you to their website. The choice is yours.