When you care for someone with Alzheimer’s, well-meaning people are in my mind a little too anxious to share their “stories” …
“My uncle had it and my aunt wound up in the hospital for months from exhaustion caring for him.”
“My mom had dementia and one day she drove away in her car and we never found her again.”
“My sister had Alzheimer’s and she didn’t even know who her kids were.”
…you get the idea. And in some ways, I truly understand. It’s a horrible disease. It affects everyone in different ways. It’s difficult to comprehend.
I believe the most difficult for us to accept is when someone we love, someone we know and knows us, no longer recognizes who we are. Heartbreakingly sad.
Last year when I mentioned to John my birthday was upcoming, he wanted me to take him to purchase a birthday card. I was thrilled.
Off to the card shop we went, where I asked the sales associate to please help him pick out a card for my birthday. After some time, he sheepishly approached the counter and I purchased the card for him along with my other items. His card was bagged separately for him so that he could carry it home, and I promised to give him the bag the morning of my birthday so he could sign it, seal it and deliver it.
On my birthday, I opened the card knowing that love had gone into choosing it.
Tears welled as I read it…
Happy Birthday Mom
I took a deep breath and gave him a big kiss. He smiled, knowing he had picked a beautiful “gift” of a card for me.
I rationalized, but it hurt. Before this life’s story I’m now living had transpired, I would have been angry. I would have opened the card and immediately said, “You know I’m not your Mom!”
But on that birthday, on that day, I thanked him for the beautiful card that he himself had picked out for me.
Bless ya, Bev!
Our response and perspective change based on circumstances. Life teaches us to enjoy the small moments! Beautifully written my friend and a reminder to me not to sweat the small stuff! Our grandma had this same brain disease and we took care of her for 20 years. I wish we had the insight to write the little stories like you are doing! Our grandma referred to Barbie and I as the nice ladies that helped her. She was the best grandma ever and we loved her. We would take care of her all over again! Love you Bev❤️
It’s so true, Becky…that in spite of all of it we would still do it over again if given the choice.
Love you, too, my friend!
Thank you, Barbie.
Beautiful story Bev, miss you!
Thanks Missie. Miss you too!
So happy to have you pop up again. I can’t even remember how long you’ve been gone. A bit of your past history would help me a lot.
You have the marvelous kind of attitude that more of us should adopt as life tosses its surprises our way.
Hi Martha; had my own cooking school/store in Akron; worked for Mustard Seed Market as well before going to Vitamix.
Thank you for the compliment about my attitude…it helps me get through a lot of life’s twists and turns!
Bev, you are such a blessing to others by sharing your story. This disease creates so many complicated feelings and emotions that most of us are unprepare for. But your reflections allow us to see the deeper beauty in the situation, like John wanting to purchase a card for you. While the sting is the card for “mom”, the love is clearly in the gesture.
Thank you Cheryl!
Mary Ann Freedman
This is so touching. I am the director of a non-profit that recruits and trains legal guardians for people living in nursing homes who have no one. My Joe had dementia and the memories like this one are both precious and emotional.
You and John had such a special relationship. Please give him a hug from Meredith and me. Take care of yourself, too.
Thank you Mary Ann. I love that there is a non profit that helps those in nursing homes that have no one; loneliness is sad. I gave John and hug from you and Meredith. Sending love to both of you.