Alzheimer's disease took my husband completely yesterday. He passed away in his sleep in the afternoon. He was diagnosed in September 2006 with "some form of dementia." The disease robbed him of everything he loved ---his music, his recipes, his books on all sorts of subjects, his foreign films and his all-time favorite film stars whom he no longer recognized.
His memory left him, but our memory of him is still alive and intact. The family will gather this wekend to remember the sweet, fun loving, joke telling, but very serious father and grandfather he was. He loved to share what he knew, always teaching somebody something.
We will remember how much he loved to cook and to try out new recipes--most of which came out well. We will remember holiday dinners and visits in
Slowly the memories of his illness will fade and the memories of him as a healthy vibrant generous sweet soul will remain.
Whenever I pick up a tool, I hear his voice in my head telling me how to use it safely. When I drive the car, I hear him asking me to remember to check the gas gauge and the oil levels.
In the park, I remember how he loved to take the little ones to feed the ducks--he loved feeding the ducks himself as much as the children did! He loved each picture the grandchildren drew and each skill they showed him they had learned. As we go on to new achievements we will know how proud he was of each of us, so pleased with us and with himself for being the head of such a wonderful family.
But as we try to erase the toll Alzheimer's disease took on my husband, we all cannot stop our fight to help raise money and to advocate for more research so we finally put an end to this devastating illness. We need to find a cure, so our grandchildren will be spared this awful decline. We need to support the many caregivers who care for beloved spouses and parents who lose their skills and memories as we watch, helplessly.