I stayed in this strange funk for over a week. I’m finally realizing that it was part of the whole grieving process. This past weekend helped out quite a bit. I had to go down to take care of some items for all the parents. I kept getting hit with people wanting to know how my mother-in-law was doing or had heard and wanted to say they were sorry. I realized I might not be dealing with this as well as I had thought.
I went to the bank to close out my in-law’s safe deposit box. The lady helping me asked where Sally was at now. I told her the cemetery. She gasped and I realized I can’t handle telling even one more person about her death. Yes, I might not be coping as well as I thought. My husband’s cousin told me that I’m going to end up getting banned from that bank. First I cried on Santa’s shoulder at the Christmas get together and now this.
I stayed the night so that I could work more on cleaning and organizing the house. When two pack rats spend 64 years together, there is a lot to go through. I found the greatest treasure ever though in the bottom of the closet. I found this small metal toolbox filled with old photos and a few other items. They were from when my father-in-law was a baby and some from before then.
This one is my favorite and part of the reason is the car. I figured out that this was my father-in-law, Aubrey, a couple of months before his 2nd birthday. My husband confirmed it when he noted that he looked grumpy even as a baby. He never grew out of this facial expression. This was taken in October, 1929!
This next one is another favorite. The child to the right up front with the shoes on is Aubrey again. I think the photos were taken on the same day. Check out the car again. I’m loving these photos mainly for the cars!
This next one was taken nine years before Aubrey was born. It was taken in 1918 and the photo was in excellent condition! From the writing on the back of this one, I can’t tell if the woman is from Tarpley, Texas or she is in Tarpley, Texas. The building in the background looks really familiar. It’s been a while since I was in Tarpley but I’m thinking that is one of the buildings still there. Check out the mode of transportation here. Yes, that is a horse and buggy!!
Finding these photos helped lift my spirits tremendously. They also left me with regrets. Aubrey had them squirreled away where no one knew they existed. That means no one had the chance to ask him about who everyone was or what they were doing. I found pictures of a house and my husband said that had been his grandparent’s house. He said the only thing left was this massive chimney. At one point, they owned 700 acres up at Con Can, Texas. I recognized the cliffs along the river and there was no doubt that those Cypress trees were the ones we have floated past many times on the Frio River. The photos helped make everything feel full circle. I also finally got to see with my own eyes the things that Aubrey had told me stories about.
I invited my husband’s cousin to come over with his wife so that I could give them some pictures and a few other things. They were there with us when Sally had her first major Alzheimer’s event. It helped to be around the only other people to end up witnessing some of what Sally went through last year. Her other two sons never experienced any of the rough moments but Steve and Debbie were there with us when we were introduced to sundowning. I did not know how much I needed to be around someone who truly got what last year did to us. It was definitely a year that changed me tremendously.
I was only down there for 24 hours but that was enough for me to get really sick, really fast. I forgot to take my inhaler for my asthma. I can still smell Sally’s dog there, there is lots of dust from everything sitting for a year, and then something made me feel really bad while trying to get some sleep. The longer I laid there trying to get to sleep, the worst I felt. I finally figured out that it was the laundry soap. I have to use unscented soap and she has regular Tide there. I finally realized that faint scent on the sheets is what was making me sick. All this time I thought it was leftover dog hair. I’m kind of glad I forgot my inhaler. I know how to fix the problem so I can get more done down there.
My time down there helped. I came home and ended up sleeping over nine hours Saturday night. I woke up feeling better and ready to get moving again. I definitely think I’m finally waking up from this nightmare called Alzheimer’s.