I am constantly trying to figure out Barry’s clothing. His care center closet is sometimes full and other times practically empty. When I see the lady on the first floor wearing one of his shirts, I know why his closet is bare. Who else is wearing his stuff?
I can never figure out what to do when he is running low on something. I know I will no longer bring any nice shirts just so that gal can wear them! Last week, I noticed he had only one pair of pants — and they were huge. They were pants from back when he lived at home and was eating compulsively. The old waffle days! Those days are long gone and now he is very thin from constantly moving his body.
A couple weeks ago, I went through the closet and drawers in his room. I packed up clothes that were too big and finally got rid of the ladies sweatshirt that I found Barry wearing a couple of times a week even though I told the aides it wasn’t his. It was too small and obviously made for a woman. It made me want to cry seeing Barry in that sweatshirt. The smart thing for me to have done would have been to take it off him right then and there. However, it takes a couple of people to dress him so I couldn’t do it on my own. I remained hopeful that the afternoon aides would tell the morning aides who dress him that it was not his shirt! No luck. Week after week that shirt found its way back on Barry — just as his shirts found their way to the first floor lady! Never again. I took that damn sweatshirt and tossed it!
I packed up his winter clothes, asking myself whether he would ever need them again. Should I save the sweaters and fleece vests? Will he be alive next winter, and, if he is, will he ever go outside?
He needed more pants. The challenge is finding the right size now. Barry is very thin but he wears bulky diapers. I think there should be special clothing shops for people in nursing homes. I still try to dress him like he was before frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Does it really matter
How he looks? Does he care?
On the way home, I shopped for pants. Should I just get sweatpants or pajama bottoms? I feel bad that he looks so disheveled and unmatched each day. I know he would hate looking the way he does. I ended up buying him one pair of regular pants, having no idea how long he would even need these or any clothing, for that matter.
Back home, I pulled out a box from my storage unit that was filled with Barry’s old neckties. As I looked through them, I remembered the suits that coordinated which each one. I have to admit, I loved the old days when he left for work in a suit and tie. When Barry sold his company, he was happy to be done with dressing up, but I missed seeing him looking so sharp. My boys aren’t interested in having the ties, and I know Barry will never wear them again.
So I bagged up the ties along with his winter stuff for donation. But as I write this weeks later, the bag still sits in my living room. It just feels wrong to get rid of the stuff while Barry is still alive. So there it sits as a constant reminder of the past and of how little I know about what the future holds for us.