Navigating Beyond Alzheimer’s Disease

It has been two years now since Richard left this world, my world, to go home to heaven. I’m not sure exactly what I had expected life would be like at this point but am surprised by the depth of sadness and grief that remains. His presence was so large that now in his absence those of us who knew and loved him most are still suffering the fallout.
Thriving in the midst of suffering is a difficult concept and even harder to live out in reality. It is like living in parallel worlds at the same time. When I try and articulate to friends what it is like, I see a look on their faces of both compassion and confusion. I’m not sure that even in this writing that I will be able to express my thoughts adequately, but I will try.
Healing, as we all know from bumps and bruises experienced on our physical bodies, takes time. It is a process. The same holds true when emotional “bumps and bruises” happen to us. Little by little we somehow settle into a place, where we can recall memories without so much pain. At least, this is something I am counting on but as yet, am not there. Everywhere I look I am reminded that Richard no longer shares space with me. His favorite places to hang out are void of his presence. The porch sofa on which he loved to lie down and nap, now is all tidy with cushions in place. I close my eyes and run my hand over them, hoping that when I open my eyes again, the hollow feeling in my gut will have all been just a nightmare, and he will be there, reassuring me that all is well.
Since starting this blog, it has been my desire to help encourage those who are living through the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease. My writings now will take a different turn from time to time to include what it is like, living beyond AD. While it is still my desire to encourage, I believe to candy-coat the reality would be disingenuous. It would be like me telling you who are currently experiencing AD that tomorrow will be better, when tomorrow will, in fact, be exactly like today or possibly worse. What I do hope will come through in my “thoughts on paper,” is the fact that you and your loved ones can find hope and peace in the greater reality, that God is with you, just as He has been and will continue to be with me. In every hurt, sadness, and deepest pain imaginable, He is the same God Who promises “to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:2-3, NIV.
To keep your trust as a reader, I promise to be honest as I share with you, my thoughts and feelings. But as ever, everything I write about will be grounded in my faith and belief in Jesus Christ as He is the “glue” that holds me together when I think I will fall apart. He will do the same for you. Treasures of Darkness was given to me several years ago when I felt I would not survive the battle our family faced in dealing with AD. We did survive and so will you! As with our spiritual enemy, Alzheimer’s Disease threatens to discourage and destroy everyone in its path. As someone who has always hated bullies, I hate Alzheimer’s Disease! I hate what it does to the precious people who are targeted as victims and for what it does to those of us who have to watch it happen. When I was a child, I NEVER gave into bullies. They could taunt and tease and even threaten, and I would not cry “uncle!” Alzheimer’s Disease is no different in my opinion, and  I refuse to cry uncle in both the fight and fallout from what it throws at us.
Richard always used to say, “I live in the real world” when confronted with a challenging situation. Well, I live in the “real world” too, and what I see is hope in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. I have said before and will continue to say that I do not want just to manage this monster, I want to destroy it! It is my deepest desire that I will live long enough to see this happen. But, even if I don’t personally see it come to fruition, the real world in which I live and move assures me that it is only a matter of time and that, one day, Alzheimer’s Disease will be just a distant, sad memory.