Twelve years ago today shortly before noon, Kate’s doctor delivered the news we had expected but did not want to hear. The results of her PET scan showed signs of plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s. Our lives have never been the same.
We went to lunch right after leaving the doctor’s office. We talked about the results and the implications as well as we could understand them. We decided to make the most of whatever lay ahead, but we never knew that we would be able to live so joyfully. That was true from the beginning and remains so to this day.
Looking back, I see that we lived in a big world filled with activity and social engagement. Our world today is much smaller. The highlights of every day are our afternoon trip downstairs for ice cream and our dinner in the dining room of our retirement community. You might think that is sad, but we have found that both activities involve a good bit of social connection with residents and staff that is invaluable to us. Our move to a life plan community came at the right time. We may engage in fewer activities now than in the past, but the support we receive is powerful enough to keep us happy.
So, I am grateful on this day. I’m grateful that she is still with me, and I mean that in several ways. First, she is still alive which beats the average life expectancy from diagnosis. In addition, she still lives with me, sleeping right beside me. Finally, although I don’t think she ever remembers that I am her husband and rarely remembers my name, our relationship remains strong. That means the world to me.