As you read this, I will be up in the air recovering, returning, rejoicing and remembering. I am recovering from my first dinner party without Bob that I hosted for ten of our dearest friends, recovering from hearing his voice reminding me how to hold the cutting knife properly, to be careful on the stepstool in the kitchen, to mince the garlic and to chop the vegetables in uniform slices. I also heard him chastise me for cooking a recipe for guests that we had not prepared in advance, just for us, to taste and to adjust.
Our friends verbally remembered Bob, telling stories of parties we hosted “on the roof” in our previous apartment and of the cordials he invariably placed on the table with tiny glasses, at the end of the meal. I did the same, opening a bottle of Bob’s Old Apricot Cordial from Austria. We all toasted Bob. Everyone requested I relay their thoughts and good wishes to Bob; a few did not previously know that he is in an assisted living community. They also told stories of others they have known, whose personality became hostile with the advance of Alzheimer’s disease and who needed to live in a secure, safe environment. Quietly, out of earshot, one woman inquired, “Will he know who we are and that we wish him well?”
I am returning home, from what was our community for ten years, to be once more with my family and with Bob. I am rejoicing in the warmth and love that still surrounds us both, and although I am grieving, I will still be able to see my husband and to hug him when I return.