Two friends recommended "The Notebook" to me in the same week, so I finally gave in. I listened to the audio book, while driving up and back to Mom's house, and I also watched the movie. Oh my goodness, bring a box of tissues.
I'm sure I would have enjoyed this book, if I read it 14 years ago, when it was first published and was a hot best seller. I remember my niece going on and on about this great love story. But, I never put it on my list of books to read.
I have been blessed to marry the love of my life. My best friend. So listening to a great love story is a sweet experience. A reaffirmation of what I have.
But this novel has a different message to teach me, as I listen to it now, something I never would have learned if I read it in 1996.
It is how Noah, the elder man, speaks with his wife, Allie. Allie has Alzheimer's disease. Most of the time she doesn't know who he is.
He speaks with love and compassion, giving her answers and words that will make her happy and calm. He doesn't blurt out "I'm your husband, d*&%-it, remember me." He doesn't shake her up with words, relations, and emotions that will only bring up feelings of being confused, lost, and upset. He is a calm breeze blowing through her stormy mind.
Sometimes she catches him giving her half-answers. "You didn't answer my question." she'll say. This is the sin of omission that nibbles at us care-givers. The half-truths we tell. The fiblets we give that keep our loved ones from becoming angry, agitated, or sad.
"Where is J__?" my Mom asks.
He's gone out, we'll see him later.
He's out, he's gone from us and this life, we will see him later, but not yet, not yet.