March in Mesa, Arizona is yellow with new small flowers spiking up on low bushes as well as on the fragile ends of green Palo Verde tree branches. Some orange blooms appear and white larger flowers close to the ground. Only weeds poke from the soil; the flowers appear on well-established plants, seeking the sun before the dry heat arrives. These gentle touches of color add to the voluminous red of the bougainvillea that has been blooming riotously all winter. Even the mountainsides host tiny green moss-looking clusters which brighten the desert landscape and record the passing of the seasons.
This week marks the first anniversary of my husband Bob's entry into residential care, a year that I have been living alone in this lovely, handicap-accessible house built for him to spend the last years of his life comfortably and happily, I thought, watering his plants and puttering in his garage. One day this week, Bob greeted me with the familiar sentence "Let's get out of here." His aide said he'd been standing at the door for hours, so I asked for his glasses and his hat, and off we went. "I'll go anywhere you'd like," Bob said. We went to Wal-Mart, he ate a chicken sandwich and drank a Coke and looked at the tools until dinnertime.
Friday, when my son Steve and I visited after the support group meeting, Bob was so engrossed in wheeling another mobile resident in a wheelchair and awaiting his turn for a ride, he barely greeted us and continued on his way around the perimeter of the space. A care worker was completely engaged in the activity with the two men. Steve and I left. No need for us to stay.What a difference a day makes--I think I've heard that sentence before!And such an extreme change in disease progression from the fearful angry man we knew last year.