I remember the moment I was forced to face that bleak future, and the combination of helplessness and hopelessness it brought. By telling Elsie's and my story, I hope to be of help to others in similar circumstances.
The writing of this book was a means of therapy.
I'd been a newspaper writer for fifty years. Using those skills provided me with a needed outlet from my caregiver role. I also felt compelled to pass along to others the counsel and experience provided by Elaine Newsom, the person I hired to guide us through those final, terrible months.
This basically is a love story, an illustration that trying times can bring forth greatness in a marriage. It's also a story of the power of Christian faith. Woven into the narrative is a "how-to" chronicle of the day-by-day advice that's needed as one moves through the various stages of Alzheimer's. Most importantly, perhaps, it attempts to look inside the emotions and sensitivities of the caregiver.
If you are standing at the entrance to the caregiver role, and the dread word "Alzheimer's" has already been spoken, you probably are feeling lonelier than you have ever felt before. Not only is the companionship of your partner being taken from you, you realize that no one, not your caring family, not the support group which you will join, can walk that road for you.
Come, take my hand. Perhaps I can help.
PART ONE: THE STORY
We laughed as Elsie pulled the check from the envelope. The electric power company had returned it for her signature: "What a silly thing for me to do," she said. "Just another sign of growing old."