Love endures 

An acquaintance emailed me a couple of weeks ago and asked for a reference to J’s Alzheimer’s doctor. I didn’t think anything of it. I get such requests often and provide the requested information. 

About 10 days later I was in services and the same man said something publicly about having a medical near miss. I didn’t connect any dots. 

He sought me out after services and said, “You must have figured it out.”  I looked at him blankly. He told me he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but it had been a false alarm. “I’ve never been so relieved in my life,” he said. “My mind is so important to me.  I couldn’t go on not being me.”

Outwardly, I was appropriate and compassionate. Inside, I was boiling. How dare he!  He unthinkingly was telling me that without high cognitive function, J is no longer J. While he didn’t use these words, he essentially was saying her existence is meaningless. 

I disagree. At this stage in her illness, it is difficult to tell what J understands and what she doesn’t. Does she know me and the kids?  Who knows?  Sometimes she seems to be with us and sometimes she has little affect. Does this mean her life is worthless?  I don’t think so. 

Our daughter recently got into medical school and we took J out to celebrate. We have no idea whether she understood the news. We are certain, however, that she knew we were really happy. And so she was really happy.  She beamed. 

Whatever has happened and will happen, we also are certain that J feels loves and exudes love. So don’t tell me that Alzheimer’s disease is the worst thing that can ever happen to a person or a family. If I know nothing else, I know love endures. 

I have no better gift to give you all as we enter 2017. 

One thought on “Love endures ”

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