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Expert Blog

Finding the Rainbow Within

January 6, 2016

My life is an amazing one on so many levels.

On one hand, I have two amazing children. I know I am a little prejudice, but they are my life, and I am one proud mamma. I have a home in a nice neighborhood. I am alive and healthy. My children are healthy. My parents are still alive and help as much as they can. I have friends and neighbors who help often. I have food and electricity. I have a job I love and the start of a new career. I have a good life.

Then there is the other hand.

I have a husband with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and he is declining at a pretty quick clip. I am now a single mother and feel the weight on my shoulders daily to figure out our future and to sit close by and watch helplessly as Jim changes from a strong, confident and capable man to a person who doesn’t know his wife or children and drools all over himself.

The contrast between my two lives is stark. So much to be happy and grateful for yet so much to be heartbroken and angry about.

I must work through my mind each day the many blessings I have. I must force myself to focus on the gifts we are given by those we know and those we don’t. I make a conscience effort to remind myself and our children how very lucky we are for all that we have.

Some days this comes easier than others.

When I visit Jim and see the changes that let me know the disease is progressing, I take mental notes. I don’t comment to him. I don’t cry in front of him. I take it all in. Then I speak to the staff and I leave.

I usually make it all the way to the car before I let go.

It is there, in the privacy and quiet of my vehicle I can release the anger, the fear, the heartache. But only if the kids aren’t with me. Then I just get really quiet and try to wait until I am alone. Sometimes this doesn’t happen for a while and those feelings get pushed deep down inside of me. That is when I end up having a really, really good cry. I have to hope that it doesn’t force its way out when I am not ready or not in an appropriate setting.

No matter, eventually, all of those bottled up feelings come back out. They can’t stay in. Letting go every once in a while releases stress, releases the hurt and the bitterness.

And when I am wrapping up my pity party, my mind always turns to those things for which I am and should be thankful. The friends. The help. The love. The kindness. The memories. There is and always will be a battle between what is gone and what we still have. Looking for the rainbow in the midst of the storm brings a sunshine from within that nothing can dimmer.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. January 14, 2016 at 05:46 pm
    Posted by Eliana castanho martinho

    Eu e minha irmã cuidamos de mamãe com diagnóstico de DA há 4 anos. Enquanto mamãe vai de encontro a doença nos vamos lutando para entender, aceitar e amá-la muito. Não desisto dela e quero cuidar até o dia em que Deus nos permitir. Tenho marido e dois filhos. O mais velho com 3o anos casou é carinhoso e vem sempre visita-la. O mais jovem ainda está em casa. Mas e a vida e eles precisam seguir em frente. Mamãe sempre agradece nossos cuidados e que nos ama muito. Nu nca valorizo deu esquecimento e seguimos em frente. Me pergunta: voce sempre vai estar comigo? Choro escond
  2. January 13, 2016 at 01:52 pm
    Posted by Marlene

    I understand all too well. And you truly are blessed because Trust me you have a much better scenario for dealing with your husband's disease than many of us have. I'm 48 and I've been taking care of my Mother alone since I was in my mid-40s. I can't work FT anymore. My sister lives out of state, I don't have children (I had major fertility issues when I was married and then my husband died), and most of our family & friends love us but rarely visit. People tend to stop coming around as AD progresses. God provides!
  3. January 13, 2016 at 11:52 am
    Posted by Linda Vecchio

    Thank you for sharing this with us... I am going to share it with my mom's Hospice Nurse. Mom is in the late stages of Alzheimer's. This is a young nurse maybe in her late 30's who also has a son and daughter and a nice life. Her husband has a progressive disease that is attacking his mind. I thought of her when I read your blog. I think this will be good food for thought for her. We don't know why some of us have to endure this but I always say it could be worse and thank God for the strength to take one day at a time. Praying that you will find peace and comfort.

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