Thursday night at 10:47 p.m. I was awakened from a sound sleep by Richard’s tossing and turning.
“You okay, honey?” I asked.
“No, I’m awake and my mind is running. I can’t get my thoughts in order and …”
“Go on,” I invited, drowsily.
“I can’t!” he exclaimed and struck the mattress with his palm.
Oh, duh! I couldn’t believe I could be so dumb. Now I was fully awake and a partner to his racing mind. I needed to help him defuse his running mind and maybe help him open his gates of verbal expression.
I began by asking some simple questions about his physical comfort. “Do you want a pain pill?” “Are you a comfortable temperature?” Those were fine.
Then I moved to his emotional comfort. “Would you like a back rub?” “No,” he replied but I could hear the edge softening in his voice.
I moved on to his spiritual comfort. “May I pray?” I asked. “I guess,” he rasped amid his rapid breathing. I began to pray. It was an easy prayer to begin as I reflected on the beautiful warm day it had been, filled with sunshine and hope. I spoke on, pouring out my heart and I could sense Richard relaxing. His breathing slowed down and his arm muscles relaxed. The bottom line of our prayer time was seeking courage, patience and peace. We slept.
Now two days later, I retold the story to Richard and he had a good laugh over it. He is steadily improving, especially evident by being able to initiate laughter at his own challenge. Friday, he worked on various brain games to recapture reading. Late in the afternoon I had to collect the car from the garage after some routine maintenance. Richard came along for the ride. We took a meandering ride home covering some of his old school bus route from his childhood – 45 years ago. He told tales of who was related to whom all along the road. I could see a satisfaction in his eyes as if he were caressing each memory as it surfaced. We have vowed that on the next sunny sweet day we will drive the rest of the route to complete the catalogue of 45-year-old memories.
I look back and think of those as turning point moments of regeneration. Not only are those moments regenerating Richard’s brain circuits, but they are also proving healthy for our marriage. In a sense we are growing up together. More down these paths later…