“I want to stay in our house,” he says, tears perched on his lower lids. Up until this year, I’d never seen the man cry, but I’ve witnessed the act several times now. I don’t like to see anyone cry, much less someone who never does. But I watch as a stray drop makes its way down his olive-skinned cheek. My hand itches to wipe the tear away, but he does so before I can.
I understand that he doesn’t want to move from his house of 27 years. I understand that he wants to keep his wife wrapped up in her comfort zone. I understand how difficult any change can be much less something monumental like the change staring him in the face. But I don’t think he understands that her good days will soon wane and that the number of bad days will increase. Her lucid moments are numbered, really, and someday, it won’t just be that she forgets her address, or the name of her sister, or where she placed her purse. Someday, her brain will be unable to execute commands and her abilities to dress herself, use the toilet, even swallow or breathe, will be gone.
I try to make him see this from my point of view. From the point of view of my sisters and me. He listens with half an ear, nodding his head in assent and then shaking it, “No.” He tells me one thing, my sister another thing, and my other sister a third thing. He’s keeping us in a loop with no end and no beginning, one that spins us round and round and I’m not the only one getting dizzy.
“I want off the roller coaster,” I want to say to him, with my own tears perched on my lower lids. But how can you say that to someone in your family?