There is a farewell gathering for Marilynn, surrounded by our Israeli family and working friends. We are preparing to return to the US, as I have decided that I can no longer be Marilynn’s caretaker. It is time to put her in care, and it was decided that the US was the best place, close to her children and grandchildren. It took me several years to come to this decision, and represented a reality that I could no longer deny. She was loving and compliant, but no longer knew where she was, no longer able to initiate conversations and was starting to be resistant to my care giving. I felt myself losing patience and on the verge of acting contrary to my sense of myself, and becoming angry and responsive to her emotional outbursts by saying or doing things that made me ashamed of my reactions and conAirming my sense that I could no longer be her primary caregiver.
When the evening ended, we drove the 30 minutes back to our apartment. As usual, she was sitting in the back of the car as I drove. After a few minutes of her usual silence, she said in a loud and clear voice “Thank you.” I asked what she was thanking me for she responded, “Thank you for giving me an interesting life. I like my life. I am important. People love me!” That was it! Silent for the rest of the drive. Not responding to my questions that might have drawn her out and helped her to elaborate what she was feeling. And the next morning, it was gone.