Our lives were to be dramatically changed very quickly. As I survey the events of the past twelve years, the loss is tangible. My parents' health, the precious memories, stories no longer told, events no longer enjoyed. Despite my best efforts, I found it impossible to reason their thoughts back into the submission of my reality.
My parents' home, car, independence, hobbies, one by one fell victim. I recently mourned the loss of my father's Queen-sized Temperpedic bed as a hospital bed took its place. This disease strips our loved ones of their most basic comforts as it relentlessly progresses.
And the staggering costs. Money my parents worked so hard to save for just a time as this. Dreams of their retirement years were filled with big plans. Although they spent a few years traveling, these precious memories were swiftly stolen. The remainder of their savings would be spent on their all-consuming care.
It is interesting to me that when care needs increase the necessity of things, once thought important, decreases. A recliner is now Dad's most valuable possession. A walker and wheelchair inhabit the space where side chairs and bookcases once stood. Each step we have taken, we have lost a little more - this disease is relentless. It took hold of my dad, before taking Mom's life. Oh, the loss.
Ambulances and moving trucks frequent Memory Care parking lots. In just over a month, three of our precious friends have lost their lives to Alzheimer's disease. It strikes me that since the day I jumped head first into this arena of impossible decisions and inevitable loss, millions more of you have joined me on this journey. This is what I want you to know, as I reach out to you a bit weary from the wear of the past twelve years: You are not alone!
I would be flat out lying if I told you it was easy or even completely manageable. I have cried more tears and made more heartwrenching decisions than I care to recall. In fact, I must tell you, there are times it will be necessary to mourn until it is not possible to make anymore tears, then pick yourself up and gain the strength to continue on.
Yet through all of this, there are precious moments yet to be experienced. Dad and I have traveled some treaturous terrain in the past dozen years, but we have also made some priceless memories. We learn to trade in our expectations and replace them with contented peace. This journey, for whatever reason, is part of our story. We must make it our mission to live it well.
I was leading the way yesterday as an aide pushed my father's wheelchair. "Here," Dad said as he reached out his hand clenched from Parkinson's. I held my hand out as he slipped his wrinkled fingers into mine. I won't leave your side, Dad, and I won't stop fighting until a cure is found!
#StoneBenches #TheyHaveAName #EndAlz #Parkinsons #Dementia #Change
#Loss #HOPE #InSearchOfACure