We should be reminded of this saying more frequently. I am quite disheartened and saddened when I hear about people who cannot or will not care for a loved one with an illness. What would you do if the situation was reversed? Think about how you would feel if the one person you loved more than anything, who knows you more than anyone, "couldn't handle" being there for you. What would you do?
We have been through so much with this illness and things were especially hard as we traveled the anger and agitation stage. I had no idea who this man was before me, punching a hole in our kitchen wall.
The only way I could get through this, was to CONSTANTLY put myself in Mike's shoes. There was not a mean bone in his body. How frightening it must have been for him when he lashed out, screamed and cursed? How scared must he have been when he didn't know where he was or what he was doing. I will never forget one of the last times we went to church together as a family. Mike was raised strictly Catholic and attended mass regularly. I cried and my heart broke when I saw that Mike forgot how to bless himself during mass. No, this is not something he would have chosen, but it IS something we decided early on, that we would be there to help him through.
As I explained to Courtney and Brandon, you are defined as a person by how you react during difficult times. You can either run from it, or face it and conquer it. The Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation called us "Team Henley", and I find that this name is most appropriate.
We need to be there for those we love. If there is any lesson we can teach as we travel this journey it's this.....THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I.
(The picture was taken Dec. 2005)