WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING: OUR FAMILY CHANGED

LIFE GOES ON NO MATTER THE STAGE OF ALZHEIMER’S

family gathered at a beach

With or without Alzheimer’s, family changes are inevitable as people age.

July 1, 2016 – Sleep seems to be an ever-time- consuming activity in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. At least such was the case with my husband Ken. This is an open letter to him about all that he missed in our family, while in the process of losing his life to Alzheimer’s. During these last stages of AD, Ken no longer communicated in any form. If he was in discomfort, he was unable to verbalize that discomfort. Nor could he verbalize whether he felt too warm or too cold, hungry or thirsty. He just looked into space and reflected nothing. Meanwhile, life went on.

WHAT YOU HAVE MISSED

Our grandchildren all grew-up, became adults and started having babies of their own.  Before the babies, the family had a few marriages, and you missed all of that. Katie married Brian. She wanted so much for us to be there, but you were unable to travel. She told me that she had a dream where I made up a bed for you in the back of our pickup, made sure you were safe, warm and comfortable and I drove the 800 miles to see her beautiful wedding in the park. She was beautiful and they are very happy.

Of course I didn’t drive you. Even at your best a few years ago, you were still too ill to travel. Daughter Julie used some of husband Tim’s frequent-flyer miles and we were there in just a few hours. A couple of Brian’s brothers stood in front of me so the bride would be surprised. She was and as the tears threatened I stepped forward saying, “If you cry you’ll ruin your make up and I’ll cry too.” We both took a deep breath and hugged instead. That was four years ago. Now they have a beautiful little boy who recently celebrated his second birthday.

Your great grandchildren are increasing in numbers. Often a marriage comes with a bonus family. Our other Brian married Valerie who already had a little girl. Now they have a little boy. Jeff and Kortnie have two little girls. Sean and Lani’s family is up to seven including mom and dad. You know Haley is their oldest and she just graduated high school in June. Now they have Rylie who turned eight and was baptized. The three boys in the middle are doing well, and all five take piano lessons with Haley and Tyler doing so well they played piano (Haley) and Tyler on the keyboard at their schools’ musical productions. Excellent musicians. 

Pam our oldest granddaughter is doing well in supplemental medical insurance sales of all things. She’s happily married to Rich and has two step children, in addition to her four. Our oldest great granddaughter Sydney, Michael’s first, is a junior in college and studying to be a psychiatrist. Setting the family example for her two younger cousins who will be starting college in the fall. Except for the new batch of youngers, three boys and four girls, age six and under, most of our great grandchildren are well on their way to adulthood too. I would guess we could be getting some great- greats in as little as five years, though no one is rushing anything. New motto: Get your education first.

Our son Kevin is mayor of his town again as the council rotates the mayor’s chair so that all those on the council serve one year as mayor. Meanwhile, Sean, Debbie’s second oldest will be running for mayor of his city in November. It looks promising as both sides of the aisle support him. That’s a switch in today’s nasty politics. (You wouldn’t believe these coming presidential candidates and their campaigns: A real circus.) Sean is a true problem solver, and is very good with people. Too bad he isn’t running for president.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

With all of this progeny we are leaving as we finish our time on the planet we can only hope and pray that all of the research being done on the dementia umbrella diseases will prove successful, and all of these beautiful people we leave here to carry the torch will be free from those dreaded mind-stealing diseases. It’s been nearly two years since you left and we all said goodbye. Goodnight my dear one, and if you dream, dream of me and you together again. I miss you so much and will love you always and forever.

Originally posted 2016-07-03 04:33:24.

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