If you ain't got love you're . . . LIMPIN'. Ida Evers shares all of the trials and victories of their lives together, with her husband, James Evers, who has Alzheimer's. His reactions are hilarious and heartwarming. Her gripping storytelling is filled with all of the angst, surprise, joy and loss of lives lived thoroughly with love as its anchor. Tales of family life will come and go, but you will never forget the Evers.
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
The blazing, early morning summer sun roasted the ancient tin roof of our tiny house as I watched my husband of fifty-four years make a mess of his supper. Sometimes, James would let me feed him as if he were still a human. Other times, he would become agitated and snatch the spoon out of my hand. Pleading with him did no good now. His mind was so far gone he didn’t understand much of what I said anymore.
James would usually put his spoon down when he was done piddling in his plate. Lately, I could only hope he wouldn’t throw it when he was done. He had started doing that about a month ago. So far, he had only hit me with it once when my back was turned. I wanted to throw that spoon right back at him, but he wouldn’t have known why I did that either. Instead, I thanked God it hadn’t been a knife or a fork and went back to doing whatever I was doing before.
The doctor told me James had Alzheimer’s four years ago, and that he would forget things and do strange things he had never done before. I thought that diagnosis was funny at the time because corn liquor had been doing that to James for over fifty years. As far as James doing anything he had never done before, I thought that impossible. If he got his back up about something or a load on, James always could and would do some pretty stupid things.
The doctor told me James was physically fine, but he would need to be watched all of the time because people with Alzheimer’s had a tendency to wander off and not be able to find their way back home. These people stuck their fingers into electrical outlets and fire on the stove. James has never done either one of those; however, he did decide he wanted to get something out of the well one night. The sun was up by the time we got him out.
None of this disturbed me. I had cared for my mother until she died twenty years ago. That doctor called Mama senile and gave me the same symptoms as this doctor was giving me for James’ Alzheimer’s. Mama was a piece of cake to take care of compared to James. My mother forgot some things most of the time, and was mean as hell all of the time. But, Mama had been a pistol all of her life. Expecting her to turn into a sweet, docile old lady would have been ludicrous.
James had slowly forgotten everything in the past four years. Speech had even escaped him most of the time these days, and the last things he said had not made much sense. It’s hard as hell watching a man who could rattle the windows with the anger in his booming voice turn into a six foot seven inch, two hundred and forty pound infant; aimlessly wandering around as if trying to remember what he was supposed to be doing all day.
I’m the only one who remembers anything now. All of the ups and downs of the lives and love of James and Ida Evers would disappear forever when I shut my eyes. James had no idea who I was most days, and the constant yelling and wrestling with a man who could snap my neck on a whim could only be done with pure trusting love.
Occasionally, out of the blue, James would still say something that made me wonder if he was all gone. As I cooked and cleaned the house, James would sit in his chair and watch me. The sound of his clear, coherent voice startling me, as he would ask, “Ida, what are you doing?”
“I’m cleaning up this mess you made, James. Are you feeling all right?”
“I’m fine, Sweetheart. Come here.”
I would walk over as James held his arms up for a hug. Seeing the recognition in his eyes always ripped at my heart. I knew it would disappear as quickly as it had come. I would give him his hug and a kiss before the light of recognition left. I always kissed him until his body went limp. That would be the signal that James was no longer present. These were the moments I lived for now. Brief glimpses of the original James Evers, though painful, were all I had left.
Our children and the doctor insisted I put James in a nursing home. No one seemed to understand that my life had revolved around James Evers since I was twelve years old. I couldn’t comprehend James not being here with me. Abandoning him when he needed me more than ever . . . never . . . I loved him.