Wednesday, July 6, 2011
5:13 p.m. Today's project was to notify our many family members and friends of the cancellation of Steve's and my 30th anniversary renewal of wedding vows slated for August 6th.
When Pastor John reminded me at the Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley baptism last week that we needed to make an appointment to organize the ceremony, I thanked him but saw the need toan to prayerfully reconsider the feasibility of going through with the event. Steve had done decently well at Heidi's wedding, other than muffing his "her mother and I do" line, and not knowing to come and sit with me after releasing Heidi to Pavel. The audience probably didn't notice I had to call him over, so it was all good.
I had already begun to grapple with the changes Steve was evincing in his behavior, especially towards visitors, even the siblings and cousins he'd grown up with. For example, we had a lovely visit from his sister Linda and her husband, along with cousins Sandra and Chuck Riegler and Bill Weigand four days before the wedding. Steve did well in talking, but as we were all gathered around the dining room table, talking about memories of cars they drove, a topic that Steve normally loves, even if he couldn't remember the specifics or speak very much in the conversation. But instead of just enjoying family as he always does, he just got up and left the table and went outdoors!
At Heidi's wedding reception, he was very confused, but I kept at his side except for the times I directed him to sit with our family, so I could take pictures, coordinate with our wedding helpers, do the money dance, or just visit around with all of our guests. Anything to keep him from being embarrassed or feeling left out, I did, like I do in every social situation. And that usually works to keep Steve calm and included.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might," and that's where the Lord has led me in keeping my husband as physically and socially as well as possible. At my Bible study the Thursday before the wedding, the ladies prayed intensely that all of Steve's extra confusion would go away along with the uproar and commotion we were experiencing, bless their hearts.
But it was not to be. We had company the day after the wedding, which Steve actively participated in and enjoyed, and then our grandsons stayed over for 5 days, which is pretty normal several times a year, if not an everyday occurence. But Steve has gone deeper into himself, not speaking, shaking, and having odd outbursts. When Pavel, Heidi and his parents came over to open gifts last Sunday afternoon, Pavel's dad sat with him on the couch in the family room, and Steve stared straight ahead, ignoring him completely! Later, during the happy and exciting time opening presents, while the rest of us were laughing and commenting, not exactly a low-key scene, he fell asleep!
As I've mentioned before, there was not the typical interest shown in the full day of car repair on the 4th, nor much recognition of our dinner guests who brought fabulous tri-tip with them to barbeque. Howard and Charlotte are a couple we see often. They had driven us to church on Sunday just the day before, but Steve offered little interaction then either.
Sometimes we just have to give up a special dream we've had in face of the evidence God lays out for us to view. Steve's Alzheimer's is in an entirely different phase today than it was months ago when he enthusiastically helped me plan the music and the ceremony, even if he didn't have a great recall of the details--that would be my job as his wife anyway! One of our roles as wives is that of social secretary, and as Proverbs 18:22 says, "he who finds a wife finds a good thing, and finds favor with the LORD." May it always be so for Steve.
I pray, as we plan a lovely evening with our kids, their spouses and significant others for August 6th, that Steve and I might experience the continual joyous renewal of our vows with which God blesses those who marry in His name and for His glory!