Learning to Live …

Last week I heard from several of my blogging friends who asked me how I’m doing and requesting  that I write an update.  How wonderful to hear from them.

It’s been more than seven months since Bo’s death,  and  I’ve been away from this blog for almost five of them.  I promised to continue writing, to do more research and to share more of the  lessons I learned throughout Bo’s illness,  but I realize that I needed to be away for a while.  The nine years of his illness had taken its toll on me.

“How are you doing?” friends ask with concern.

The answer is that I’m all right.  I miss Bo, but I believe it’s true that during a prolonged illness like Alzheimer’s you grieve day by day, year by year.  Watching him disappear was heartbreaking.  Some days I felt lost.  It’s odd, but now when I see a couple walking down the street holding hands,  dancing,  shopping, walking their dog,   the hole in my heart feels even bigger and I miss Bo so much, but I miss the man  he was BEFORE his illness, as if those ten years in between hadn’t happened.  I miss the man I knew who was  tall and strong, healthy, full of life and laughter, the man who protected me and helped me, who was so proud of me.  That’s who I want back.

But now I must move on –I have a new life that I’m learning to live.

I’ve always been a traveler and missed it tremendously, so for six months I traveled.  Some trips took me to visit dear friends and family who had come to visit me during Bo’s illness when I couldn’t visit them.   When I drove to my destinations,  Emma dog went along.  Other times I flew to  places I wanted to enjoy.  And now every day I read travel catalogs, planning for the future. I already have a couple of trips planned.

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Emma on a Car Trip

Now I’m home for the summer.  Many things need to be done here.  During the past ten years,  only  necessary repairs were done:  plumbing leaks, a new roof,  landscaping,  a new garage door.  Each decision I made was stressful, and everything  agitated Bo because he didn’t understand what was happening.  Now, it’s time to finish it all.

Robert has been here for weeks,  painting,  stripping wallpaper, repairing cracks, staining the floor, updating my bathroom, and now beginning to upgrade the kitchen and laundry room. (You may remember Robert from a blog I wrote: Locked Out.) The house is upside down.  Turns out  that I last decorated the living room and dining room 29 years ago.  Yikes!  So that project began too and it’s exciting. Guess I’ll stay here for a while.

And while this is all going on,  I’ve had NancyCamp for the children and Adult NancyCamp for my friends … trips to museums, historic homes and gardens,  a boat trip.

I’ve also returned to ballroom dancing.  It had been 10 years since I enjoyed  my favorite lifetime hobby. I can’t explain how great I feel after dancing –how joyful it is.    As I explained to a friend last week,  I go to bed feeling wonderful , and the next morning I awaken still feeling wonderful!

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At a dance competition last weekend

And so, my life is busy and filled with many enjoyable activities.  Jon and his family continue to live with me. My friends —  all of my wonderful friends — were here with me while Bo was ill,  and they continue to be here for me.  How lucky I am!

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13 Responses to Learning to Live …

  1. marpdx58 says:

    So glad to hear that you are dancing again!
    Mary Anne

  2. Carole says:

    Thanks for the update Nancy. I found your blog not that long ago, but it has been tremendously helpful to me. I’m on a journey myself, with my dear sweet husband. I’m so glad that you are able to enjoy this time in your life. You will flourish I am sure. And how wonderful that you have Jon and his family and Emma dog to brighten your life. Take care, and thanks for letting us know how you are doing.

  3. Maureen says:

    Love this !

  4. Mary Ann says:

    Hi Nancy
    I’ve had you on my mind a lot lately
    So very glad to hear you are doing well
    After life has to be sad because of what could have been
    I’m still in the midst—good to hear there will be an after life
    Please stay with us—we need you
    Love your dancing pictures

  5. dianne wilkens says:

    “I Hope You Dance”

    I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
    You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
    May you never take one single breath for granted,
    GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
    I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
    Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
    Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
    And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

    I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

  6. This is so lovely Nancy, and so inspiring too. It’s hard to explain the day-by-day grieving process to those who haven’t experienced it. Please keep blogging if you feel you can.

  7. Mary Smith says:

    Oh, it’s so good to hear from you, Nancy. It sounds like you are taking a big step forward into your new life with all the work on the house being done. And lovely to hear you are dancing again and that you still held your Nancy Camps – missed reading about them this year.
    It’s odd isn’t it that even though we are losing someone day by day, when they do finally go we miss them just as much than if we hadn’t experienced that slow slipping away. I hope you will feel like continuing with the blog.
    Lovely photos of you dancing.

  8. AlzScience says:

    Alzheimer’s is truly such a tragic disease–“the long goodbye,” as I’ve often heard it called. It’s really beautiful how you’ve been able to find joy in your life even after having to deal with this heartbreaking experience. Thank you for posting your story.

  9. Mike Good says:

    You don’t know me, but I have followed your story. Thank you for sharing – much love and happiness to you.

  10. Scarlett79 says:

    So nice to see you dancing. Your pup looks just like my Mz. Bella ❤ She is my Brown Dog. That's what I call her 😉 I've been a sad place for awhile now and I probably should dance it out too ❤

  11. charlotte guarino says:

    Enjoyed your blog tremendously!!!!

  12. Paula Kaye says:

    So good to hear how you are doing. I couldn’t help but cry as I read what you miss about Bo. I miss those same things. Beautiful pictures of you dancing!!

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