A year ago, four women met at the Arbor Rose support group; we had all entered our husbands into residential senior care during the past month. We supported each other in our independently-made decisions, each after many years of constant around-the-clock caregiving. We cried, we laughed, we joked, we made plans for how much time we would spend visiting at the care facilities and how we would resume once-loved activities which had been put on hold for so many years.
We met on two Fridays a month then, as we do now. Only now, two of those men have died of complications related to their Alzheimer's disease. Each remained in the care facility without having to go to the hospital; both had the benefit of caring hospice doctor and nurses visiting them at their bedside and providing comfort. Each had been visiting with relatives and even to the movies at Christmas time a mere two months ago.
One family returned to their home state where all of the rituals took place; the other, who will be buried at the national military cemetery in Arizona was remembered at a service that the support group members could attend.
The women describe themselves as doing quite well; they have lawyers to see, wills to execute and miss their well spouses, but both women accept that most of their grieving was done as the pieces of their husbands disappeared along with the progression of this devasting disease.