One of the things this disease does is bring people together that normally would not have met. Alzheimer's Disease, especially, EOAD, with it's unique obstacles and problems, can create a bond between people that were once strangers. I have been blessed to have met a few of those familes. No one can TRULY understand what I am going through, unless they are going through it themselves. Family and friends are a GREAT support, but the emotional connection you feel with someone who walks in your shoes is priceless.
-I met a woman who's husband, brother-in-law and mother-in-law all have/had the disease. Like me, she is a vocal advocate in trying to raise awareness. They were recently featured on a CBS special which I'm sure reached many viewers.
-I met a husband who's young wife was recently diagnosed. They have three young children and he struggles the same as I in caring for his wife while raising young children. The loss can be overwhelming at times, but we get our strength in our faith.
-I met a young woman who's husband went to seminary school, who also has young children.
-I can't forget my first e-mail buddy from Florida. We've become great friends and I've actually visited her twice. Her husband was diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia, which can often be even more difficult to deal with, as it affects the personality more than it does with memory loss. She also has three young children who's lives have been turned upside down.
-I have also just recently reached out to a woman who's almost in my own backyard who's husband was diagnosed at an early age. They too have 3 children, one of which will be attending the same school as Courtney and Brandon.
I will continue to reach out and help connect with anyone and everyone I can. We are all in this together. We all have that dreaded connection, but I can say from experience that it definitely helps to have someone to "talk" with who can truly understand. Whether we choose to become advocates or not, what we do on a day to day basis is quite unique and will make all of us stronger and more compassionate because of it. I may not be able to offer much, but please know that I will ALWAYS be here for any of you if you need me.
I thank you all for being my friends. God Bless and stay strong.