“Just a Couple of Old People Holding Hands”:
A Memoir of a Marriage in Alzheimer’s World
By Carl R. Smith, Jr.
Edited by William C. Smith
For those of you who’ve just tuned in, what follows is an editorial preamble of my friend, Bill’s father’s journal. Carl’s journal chronicles the last years he spent with his beloved wife as Alzheimer’s ravaged her mind. Bill’s editorial sheds light on Carl and Mary Helen’s lives as only an intimate insider could. p.j.l 1.6.16
Post 6 – Presence and Absence
Carl spent a lot of time wrestling with the concepts of presence and absence — in his marriage to Mary Helen, and in their relationship with the family.
Throughout their retirement years in Maine, Carl and MH spent most hours of most days in each others’ company. To the family, they seemed virtually inseparable. They ate meals together, alternating cooking and dishwashing duties. In the afternoons, Dad would often nap while Mary Helen worked on one of her constant sewing or reupholstery projects. They spent their evenings together, reading books and trading sections of the New York Times. On Sundays, they shared a pew at St. Andrews, a small, rural Episcopal parish, and were both active in church and community activities.