This whole scenario with Dotty and Bob DeMarco (www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/) has really brought things home to me... That this journey will eventually come to an end. As with Bob, this Alzheimer journey has lasted for so many years that it has become a way of life. Our way of life. I honestly think of Jerry’s and my relationship to be nothing other than a beautiful love story. It's about our saying “I do"... " til death to us part” in our young years, when we had no idea what it meant. We were so young. I was 19 and he was 24. I was entering college, he was graduating. We were young and stupid and thought we knew everything. We lived high on the hog. We travelled. We lived pay check to pay check. We grew to become responsible. We gave birth to three wonderful children. We buried our parents.
I remember when he was returning from a trip, I ran down the halls of the airport and threw my arms around him. It was like a movie. I remember to this day an elderly woman who watched and smiled. There were times, we fought. Plenty of them. But no matter how hard it got, we knew we would stick it out. We had been blessed with parents who stuck it out...so would we. We had made a commitment to God.
Well meaning friends encourage me to move on. They say he’s not there anymore. They say he's not the man I once knew. While I will admit I would love to be held and have someone care for me...it is only a slight temptation. Very slight. I am fully committed and am reminded of our commitment every time he comes to me. Now He throws HIS arms around ME. He is still there, in fact, after we finished at the park yesterday, he abruptly got up, turned around and said in a shaky voice, "I love you". Unbelievable how, he has no words and hasn’t for years, yet those words came out.
In his lucid moments, Jerry knows he’s in decline. He tries to say it. I think he’s afraid. Not for himself, but for me. He has always been my protectorate. He knows he is leaving. He doesn’t want to. I cling to our few moments of lucidity. The depth of our unspoken connection comes only after many, many years together. It is a reward. A blessing from God that could never have been imagined. There are no regrets. I don’t know what it will be like when he’s gone. I don’t know if I’ll be prepared even though I’ve had all this time. Others have experienced loss and have survived. I will too. Then I’ll move on, counting my blessings. I’ll move on knowing we have experienced each other from the beginning to the end.....and I’ll be thanking God for a truly beautiful marriage.