Forever and Always, I Love Him

October 8th 2015 (7) comments so far  

spencersMy husband of 30 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about three years ago. We married when our children were grown, so we have had a lot of honeymoon years—just Lew and me. He is 87 now, and I guess I never expected him to get old, much less expected to face Alzheimer’s with him.

This very vital and dear man has given me so much happiness. We have shared so much together. He is a former race car driver who has raced Cobras, Morgans, Sunbeam Tigers, and others. His lack of fear in the face of speed amazes me. After his racing days, he managed Trans Am teams and worked for Chrysler/Carroll Shelby, as did I—but he was in California and I was in Texas. Eventually, thanks to the airlines, we met, fell in love, and married.

When we were setting up our first home together, I found tons of racing memorabilia, including trophies. However, I saw only his first-place trophies; he did not keep the others (there were very few of those, anyway). He won most everything in his class. We have traveled much in the light of Lew’s celebrity status, often at the invitations of other states and countries, and often for him to be honored at races. Three years ago, he was honored as the Morgan driver of all times in Germany. All of this, he did with humility.

This is the man I married. He came to the Lord at age 60 and became the spiritual leader of our home. I believe that he still is. Today, he may not remember most things, he may not be able to help with all of the things he used to, but he has paid his dues. Because he so loved driving, it was with great despair that I had to take Lew’s car keys away from him. It hurt us both. Still does.

Through it all, he never fails to tell me he loves me. He has made my life worth living, and now it is my turn to do that for him. When I think too much, I miss him. I remember Nancy Reagan’s words about Alzheimer’s: “It is a long, sad goodbye.” And that it is! We have good days, and we still laugh a lot, but I long for him to remember to send me yellow roses, as he did for 27 years. I long for him to remember my birthday or our anniversary, or to be there with a shoulder to cry on. But, I still have him—for that, I am grateful.

I have had to learn to do a lot on my own in recent years. I never had to put gasoline in my car until Lew could no longer do it; I never had to replace filters or repair fences. By now, I can take my car in to be serviced without crying, but, oh, how much easier it was when Lew was taking care of me. Even swimming pool maintenance is something I have struggled with since taking it on myself.

I knew nothing about swimming pool maintenance when I started, and as I began to learn what to do, I remember having one very tough week that ended with finding a mouse in the pool. I prayed for some bird to come swoop it up, and trusting the Lord to deal with it, I left it overnight. I guess God had other things to do, because, the next morning, the mouse was still there. Someone had to get that mouse out of the pool. Since Lew could not, and I didn’t know if there was a service I could call, I decided that it was up to me. Bravely, in my fuzzy robe, my slippers, and my housecleaning gloves, I marched forth to scoop the mouse. Its appearance was disgusting. On its back with feet in the air, it looked like it had to be disease-ridden. Choosing to be safe in the event that it had the Bubonic plague, or something worse, I went back in the house and donned a surgical mask.

In all of my hazmat gear, I returned to the pool and scooped up that mouse. Rather than flip it over the fence and scare my neighbor to death, I marched it to the trash can and tried to dump it. But the little devil had attached itself to the net, and as I was pounding on the trash can to knock it loose, a neighbor drove by. I stood there, in my mouse-catching garb, imagining that she was thinking. “Gee, I haven’t seen Lew lately. I wonder what that crazy woman has done with him.”

So what have I learned these past three years? To laugh. To take it one day at a time. All I can do is take it one day at a time—some good, some not so good. But whatever comes, I am committed to keeping Lew at home with me as long as I possibly can. The Lord is my strength, and through the prayers of my friends, we will make it. We are all in this together. Forever and always, I love him.

My friend, Maxine, sent me the following poem about Alzheimer’s, and it explains it all.

Do not ask me to remember.
Don’t try to make me understand.
Let me rest and know you’re with me.
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept.
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me.
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can’t help the way I’m acting,
Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone.
Please don’t fail to stand beside me;
Love me ‘til my life is done.

Blog post written by Carol Spencer


Comments

  1.  

    Christina Morton October 8th at 2:05 pm  

    Praying for you! I know you are a dear friend to my aunt Sally.

  2.  

    Wade October 8th at 5:02 pm  

    Thank you for a beautiful story of encouragement and enduring love. I briefly knew Lew at Men’s Bible Study a few years back, and he was a true gentleman and great example of Christ.

  3.  

    Wayne Stiles October 9th at 4:52 am  

    I love this, Carol! Thanks for a window into your heart and for encouraging us with a godly perspective.

  4.  

    Patricia Pitts October 12th at 11:50 am  

    This story touched my heart. I am very familiar with this disease and I hate this for you and Lew. What a beautiful and sweet story of your life together.
    You are in my prayers.

  5.  

    Olga Ball October 19th at 11:09 am  

    So beautiful, Carol. Praying for you and Lew.

  6.  

    Peggy Rawlinson October 24th at 4:17 pm  

    To laugh…and to take it one day at a time. Truly walking by faith.

    We are back at Stonebriar after returning from 5 years in Florida.
    On Sundays, I often sit and reflect on the many wonderful memories Bill and I had
    at the church. You and Lew were at the top of the list…always fun, and so well grounded.
    Bill has always admired Lew and always will. Bill always loved Lew’s car stories!
    It has been with great sadness that I read your blog, but through my own challenges, I’ve come to see how God, through the difficulties, can give us life that is full beyond measure in ways we would never expect. I will be lifting you both up daily, for strength, a continued send of humor, and joy in rain.
    What a privilege to know you both.
    Love to you… Peggy

  7.  

    Teri Comer March 30th at 10:28 am  

    Beautifully written Miss Carol. I can only speak from a daughter’s point of view as my sweet dad was diagnosed with the same just this month. You and Lew will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Love to you both….Teri

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