I had the greatest pleasure, today, of seeing old friends from swim team days. There were many years spent on pool decks, with stop watches in hand, long weekends, and relay races.....all for our daughters. Jovial Dick and Jerry would stand on the sidelines jabbing each other about politics and analyzing current events, all while cheering for our daughters who competed against each other.
As I drove over the bridge to meet he and his wife, I was reminded of how wonderful is is to have friends from "pre" Alzheimer days. Sometimes, I've found that the journey has been so long, that it's hard to remember about our lives in healthy times. They reminded me of how they were in tears, laughing over this funny story that Jerry had told..and, of course, they had to retell the story. I've received letters from little swim girls, who are now grown up, of how they remember "Mr. Jerry" cheering on the side of the pool and one letter from a young girl who remembers Jerry holding her in his arms after a rubber exercise band snapped and tore her retina. Jerry adored those girls.
In the beginning of the alzheimer journey, the emotional, mental and physical demands were overwhelming. The outpouring of empathy and hugs were like a warm blanket of love. But as the honeymoon of concerned friends waned...so did the memories. A new life began....Life with Alzheimers.
So go ahead. Help bring back the memories for the caregiver. Go visit a caregiver. Write them a letter. Remember the funny times..the precious times. Laugh. It's never too late. It might make someone's day.