October 8th 2015 (7) comments so far
My 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
Add Your Thoughts
- Love Where You Live 1
- My Fear of Eternity 3
Weston Votaw, Townsend Keller, Elise Miller
- Heroes 1
- Choose to Love 1
- Amy Hyles
- Charlton Hiott
- Guest Blogger
- Les Fleetwood
- Olga Ball
- Pastor Tony
- Patricia Krecklow
- Rachel McGinness
- Roy Williamson
- Steve Fischer
- Susan Jacobson
- Tom Hayes
- Townsend Keller
Welcome to our blog. The articles posted here are written by staff, volunteers, and guest authors and are
intended for polite discussion, not heated debate. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the
individual authors and do not necessarily represent the teachings of Stonebriar Community Church.
Any articles and other links included here are items the individual authors considered helpful or of interest. Stonebriar Community Church does not necessarily endorse or agree with the content or views expressed on the linked websites nor is it responsible for any information or advertisements on external websites.