It has now been 3 years and just over 7 months since Kate’s official diagnosis. She chose not to go public with the news and continues to feel that way. She does not want to be treated like a patient. I have often wondered when the time would come that people would know our secret. I am now beginning to see how this process unfolds.
The very first person I told was our pastor. That was a little over 2 years ago, I believe. I only told him because he had asked me to lunch and during lunch asked me if Kate was all right. When Virginia and Ken were in town for Dad’s 100th birthday, Ken asked if Kate was all right. That prompted me to tell him. Then he told me about his own situation.
I told our children just before we went to New Zealand. I was motivated to do so because I felt Kate was declining more rapidly and felt they should be aware especially if something happened on the trip. After returning from the trip, I told my friends, Tom and Cal. I felt the news would help them understand some of my emails regarding our lifestyle. A few weeks after that I told Ellen. She is Kate’s closest friend. Shortly after I told her, Kate told her as well. That was a big step for her. To date Ellen is the only person she has told except Ken.
A few weeks ago, I told my staff. Once again, I felt it would help them understand my situation and my increasing distance from the business operations of the company. Then I told my dentist whose mother has Alzheimer’s. He told me I should be free to speak with his father should I want to talk with someone who has gone through this experience.
We visited with Scott and Jan Greeley a few weeks ago. Scott asked me if everything was all right health wise. I told him. I didn’t have time to say much but arranged a phone call two days later in which I laid out the whole situation.
Yesterday I had lunch with two friends we know in the arts community. The wife directs a choral group. They asked me to serve on the board as they are planning to retire two years from now and thought I might make a good fit for their needs during this transition time. This is the kind of thing I might normally accept. Instead I felt I had to let them know why I couldn’t accept. They represent the first people I have told who are not family or close friends.
In addition to these people I have told there are a couple of others that know Kate’s diagnosis from being around her. The first is her hairdressernand her daughter. The other is her PEO sisters. One of them has a husband with Alzheimer’s and mentioned to me that she knew what I was going through and would be thinking of me.
I am still not ready to tell everyone, but I am thinking about telling three other friends, Ann and Jeff Davis and Dorothy and Mitch Hinely and two of our friends from our days in Madison. These are longtime friends who live outside Knoxville. I almost called Ann and Jeff today but backed out. I will probably tell all of them very soon.