My son recently posted a photo of Jerry and I on facebook as a Mother's Day tribute. (What a good son!) The photo was taken while on a trip to the wine country in Los Olivos, California. It was one of the most fun trips we've ever taken, mainly because we were with two of my most favorite people...Mark and Michelle. This trip was taken probably eight or nine years ago. Jerry had been diagnosed a few years earlier and he was still in the early stages of Early Onset Alzheimer disease. He was a handsome 55 and I was,....well....ok, 50! There. I said it! Anyway, just because someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer disease or any sort of dementia, does not mean you cannot go on living. In fact, once we were facing the future of such a crisis, we figured we'd better not waste any time, so we lived life to the fullest with only a few modifications. Those connections that were made, such as that kiss, are still there today. The bonds of a relationship do not go away even though the memories do. I remember some advice that our neuro psychologist once said, "Don't waste time worrying about what might never happen." That's some of the best advise I was given and I'd like to pass it on to you.
To worry about the "end" of this disease will rob you of the present. The end stages will be hard enough when you get there. In the meantime, the present is a treasure not to be missed. When the “end " comes, the life you’ve experienced will still remain embedded. Maybe not the details of places and events, but the essence will be there.
Today, life has changed dramatically for us. Our trips sometimes barely make it down the hall. At best, it is to the Dairy Queen and watching the ducks. I'm thankful for that. We may not be in those galavanting wine country days, but we'll still be taking advantage of the present. It’s such a sweet, sweet present and, yes, that kiss still remains.