For nearly three years, the life of my weekend bag was like an extra limb of my being. I would pack it up, overfill it sometimes, for a trip to my mom's that ranged from 1-3 nights, depending on what was happening with Alz. In the early stage, I got by with visiting one weekend a month with many day trips each week. As things progressed, the overnight trips turned into every other weekend, and last year at this time, when end-stage Alz made his appearance, there were several weeks that I traveled the 180 roundtrip miles every other day. This extension of me, my bag, when it wasn't in the seat of my car or the floor of the bedroom in my mom's house, perpetually lied at the foot of my bed half unpacked. It became a fixture, one that could tell stories of its own about what it witnessed with Alz.
I didn't always have the energy once I was back home to unpack my weekend bag and put it away. Why would I do that when I knew I'd be going back to my mom's soon? One morning, I saw something when I was getting ready, which made me pause with a sad little laugh. My dog Rex nosed through the clothes still in the bag and situated himself comfortably in it. He would lay in it morning, noon, and through the night! Honestly. Alz not only affects people. It affects animals! I know he missed me while I was gone, just like my family. As long as my bag was at his ready, he could have cared less if my bedroom was tidy. When you care for someone with Alz, some things just don't get done for a while because they aren't necessary. My unpacked bag in my untidy bedroom was Rex's place of comfort, his shelter, during the mess of Alz.
So I have another poem from 1984 I share today. It makes me laugh, distracting my mind from serious news. Plus, my bedroom could use a little TLC.
Unedited from 1984:
Cleaning My Room
Cleaning my room is not very fun.
It takes me forever until it is done.
There are clothes on my bed from two weeks before,
I haven't time to hang them or fold them in my drawer.
My mom gets angry because it's in poor condition,
I wonder what she would do if she was in my position!
There are clothes hanging from lamp shades
And pictures hung crooked on the walls,
It kind of looks like this in a way, in dormitory halls.
I find things that I've lost and have been looking for
I find the things I didn't from the time before.
In the corners of my room, there are piles of refuse unknown,
I stuff them under my bed as if they had never shown.
Finally I decide to quite
Only after a little bit.
I'm tired of cleaning my room everday,
And what people think or even say.
Bless the animals who comfort us and who need comforting. Their companionship is full of unconditional love.