Please do not ask me what I had for supper, who is our president or what day of the week it is.
I have dementia, and to those who have it, too, you know that those things are not important.
We remember the important things. Like our children’s birthdays. I might forget their names momentarily, but I know when they were born! We just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and in my mind it was only yesterday I walked down that very long aisle toward my intended not knowing that in a few short moments he would soon set my dress sleeve on fire with his unity candle. I laughed then, and I laugh now.
That was just the start of what would be a spiral of downfall events. I woke up the morning of our wedding with what my mom deemed, “Nervous hives.” I put on my brave face and donned my 65-pound wedding gown complete with the chapel-length train and veil. My father strolled down the aisle with me clinging to his arm thinking flash cubes from our photographer would be going off soon.
Instead I saw the pews lined with wedding guests and my sister Peggy, taking pictures while juggling my nephew Ron on her hip. Our photographer became ill and canceled at the last minute. Peggy — ahem — “volunteered,” so they story goes, to take a few pictures.
After the fire, we went to the reception and were informed afterward that we had 600 guests. Not so. They counted the plates people used and we were charged per plate. We were scrambling through our cards trying to come up with the rest of the money. We thought we had it all settled beforehand and then they dropped the plate bombshell on us. (Note to brides: Check the caterer’s exact pricing!)
Jim was a little tipsy, and I was scratchy, itchy and under the influence of Benadryl by the time we got back to our apartment. We were scheduled to leave the next day for a wonderful honeymoon in Michigan at a friend’s lake cottage. Instead I get up the next day and looked like one giant scab. I am sorry to be so graphic, but it is the only way I know how to put it.
After a trip to the ER we found out I had flea bites. Our apartment was infested! We spent a lovely night or two at my parents’ while our apartment was fumigated. I was also given a nifty little concoction of drugs that made me sleep 23 out of 24 hours of the day.
Thinking back, I know where I made my mistake. It was in the summer of 1959, I was riding in the car with my family. We were on our way to some place out in the boondocks called “Auburn.” Granny lived there. I heard Frankie Avalon sing “Venus” for the first time, and I knew some how, some way, I must become Mrs. Avalon. Serves me right for marrying for love.
Please, do not ask me what day it is, but rather, what day was it.