Friday, September 18, 2009

A Good News, Bad News Day

Yesterday my youngest grandchild celebrated her second birthday - albeit half way around the world in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to the modern wonders of GMail Chat she and I were able to say "I love you". A dear friend who has already fought and won the cancer battle on two fronts has been nail-chewing waiting for results of a recent biopsy. "All clear" she shouted from the rooftops. Good events, joyful messages, promises of a future.

Some time ago I wrote of a neighbor and his wife who stop by in the evenings to let their dog play with my critter. I've been gone most of the Summer and I recently ran into him at the neighborhood coffee shop."How are you ?" I asked. "Terrible", he said. "I've never felt more lonely and sad in my life as I do now". His wife, who celebrated her ( although I suppose celebration takes some interpretation now) 74th. birthday this week has finally succumbed to a stage of alzheimer' s disease that has necessitated she be placed in a home. They have been married 50 years. His loss is overwhelming. "I don't care about anything now" he told me.

I called him yesterday to come on over and have a glass of wine, don't be alone. We talked as the dogs played. "You never knew her before this happened". He described a vibrant woman, athletic, super mom, community activist. "And now, when I go to visit, she doesn't know me."

What a cruel and brutal disease. It's robbed two lives of joy. There's nothing I could say to him. In many ways losing my husband to cancer was easier to bear. There was an end.

I watched a movie trying to understand more the impact of alzheimer's on the survivor - Away From Her - hard to take but I'm glad I sat through it.

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  1. My husband no longer recognizes me yet he asks me if I know where June is - I'm June. I never thought my heart could break in so many pieces over and over again. His illness progressed rapidly. Less than a year from "I forgot what I was going to do" to this.

  2. June, words fail me. How sad. I hope you have researched a support group in your town and are taking advantage of what it has to offer. My neighbor whose wife has Alzheimers credits the support group he attends with keeping him going.


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