Day 9: Thursday, March 14th, 2019

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”

My thirty-year marriage to George ended with his surrender to Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is a great teacher.

I first realized George had Alzheimer’s when we were towing a 35-foot Avion trailer. Far from home he stopped on a two-lane, paved highway and refused to go over the next hill. I directed traffic while he walked to the top of the hill to see if the road continued. My world shifted that day. I grieved the loss of the man I could trust to make sound decisions for us both and accepted the man who needed me to step up as a more vocal partner.

A couple years later, the police stopped George after he went through a stop sign. George explained to the officer, “If everyone stops, no one will get anywhere.” I sold his car and became sole driver.

Alzheimer’s teaches us to grieve each loss and fall in love again and again and again. I loved the adult and then lost him to his twelve-year-old mentality. I lost my twelve-year-old to an eight-year-old who rescued a bird that flew into a garage window. We spent the day taking the bird to a veterinarian and buying birdseed.

My eight-year-old left me, and I fell in love with the four-year-old sorting nuts and bolts for me again and again. He loved to take walks and eat fast food. By his last Christmas, he was a one-year-old playing with shoes on the floor. I experienced existential joy on the floor beside him.

Grief and joy are the same lesson.

Years ago a friend who had just lost her husband told me, “I am looking at this as a new adventure. I have never been here before.”

This new day requires me to find joy in a new relationship(s). There is more than one season to each life.

 

Prayer:

Our Father in heaven, Mother of cardinal, earth and sky, Great Spirit of wind and prairie grasses: Teach us the lesson of holding on and letting go, holding on and letting go. Teach us to love unconditionally. Teach us to give ourselves permission to live anew in joy. Amen.

 

 

Contributed by Ann Hendrix