Although performed in a large wood-paneled auditorium with wonderful accoustics, the show seemed almost as intimate as my husband and I were privileged to see and hear in the Rainbow Room in New York several years ago, before he became ill with Alzheimer's disease. Naturallly, my thoughts drifted to him and to our life together as I applauded each song Audra sang.
As Audra sang Jule Stein's lovely lyrics I was enveloped by the wonderful feeling yesterday afternoon before the concert, when I entered the memory care unit where my husband lives. I was "dressed up," wearing a dark grey suit with a form-fitting waisted jacket over a short-sleeved red cashmere pullover. I was "adorned" by gold love-knot earrings which were my husband's first gift to me and a gold bracelet my husband purchased for me at an antiques show shortly after we were married. He had such pleasure in recognizing valuable jewelry at pawn shops and flea markets, negotiating a good price and seeing me wear what he bought for me.
I envelop myself in fond memories each day so I have a genuine loving feeling as I enter the home. My husband was in his room standing facing away from the door as I entered.I watched quietly, waiting to see if he was going to seat himself on one of his comfortable chairs or if he would turn toward me. He merely stood in place in the center of the room until I quietly said hello. He was startled nonetheless as he turned and saw me. He reached out his arms to hold me and to kiss me, exclaiming "You are SO beautiful."
When the veil of indifference lifts for a few moments and my husband has a moment of lucidity, when his eyes light up in recognition of our partnership and trust, I know I have made him happy these past score-plus years which sustains me now. This Alzheimer's disease has robbed us of so many years and experiences, but we still can feel the connection we have to each other and I for one, can still build fond memories.