Sunday, December 9, 2012

Today is Sunday, the 9th of December...

This day last year would have started like this:

I would rise early, grab a cup of coffee and hit the keyboard. Typically, everyone would be home that should be home. The hustle and bustle wouldn't begin until Michelle was ready to leave for work. As always, Bill would sleep until he woke up. No cereal, oatmeal or pop-tarts for breakfast. On Sunday, I always cooked for him. He could always remember it was Sunday.

Things look different around here this year. The house is less decorated and in a much different style. Perhaps minimalist, where less is more. Keeping watch over me is a tall single cypress outside the bedroom window, lit up with the extra Christmas lights. Willie Splinter and I watch the lights dance on the wall until midnight.

A couple weeks ago and in fits and starts, I began cleaning out his closet. A nice surprise or two when going through the pockets, it is odd that I can remember nearly exactly where we were the last time he wore this or that. Separating into categories for quilts, the Abercrombie button downs here, the Hilfigers and Columbias there. I had forgotten he owned a tuxedo until I pulled it out.

By now he would be asking nearly constantly, "When are we leaving for Mikie's?"

Always anxious and excited about a road trip, I may take a different route this year.

The girls and I reminisced last night over turkey ring. I guess when the shock begins to wear off, one begins to remember better the terms of endearment, his expressions of surprise, the funny things he said, his take on the world.

Looking around, this house seems larger. Not that furnishings have been removed, but most definitely because he's not in it. Or is he? In every inch of this place, there is a memory.

Bill loved the holidays, the lights at Christmas, cooking, eating and seeing his family come together in our home. Today, I am thankful we accommodated his love of the banana pudding trifle, the chocolate covered cherries, the gathering together to make a fuss over him. He enjoyed Christmas morning as much as any child.

I wrote within weeks of his passing, "God gives us memories, that we may have roses in December."

It would have been so easy to shut down the holidays altogether this yearEven with a new twist on Christmas, we're finding it extremely difficult to come up with a new plan. Actually, the most comforting thing we've found is home.

Today marks exactly 8 months. On the 9th of April on Easter Sunday. Running my hands across his jackets brings comfort and even though I've left out a few things to wrap up in, my goal is to have most of his closet packed away by the New Year.

More aware now than ever the impressions you make and the legacy you leave, I ponder, "How will I be remembered and will there always be roses in December?" 

For us, I suspect you can count on it...

My name is Rhonda Brantley and my husband, Billy Ray Brantley, suffered from Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia. This is the best shot we have at documenting daily living.

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