It's a powerful and strong connection, but Alzheimer's Disease is something that has usually always had the power to destroy it. One of the most painful ramifications of this disease is the friendships which I never thought I would lose, that have disappeared. People I that I thought would be lifelong friends, stop calling and visiting for whatever reason. One exception to this rule is Mike's dear friend Tom.
Mike and Tom grew up in the same town. Through tragedy, they realized they had alot in common (they both lost their parents at a young age). As I mentioned in a previous post, when you find someone that has walked in your shoes, the connection is priceless. Tom and Mike were friends all during High School (Chaminade). We had out infamous nights out. Tom and his friend actually gave me my first and only "upside down" shot - something I will never forget. When Tom had knee surgery, Mike would take walks with him to help him get his strength back. Then we each got married. Tom was an usher in our wedding.
Through the years, we would see each other every once in a while. We saw each other at our children's Christenings, birthdays etc. But as happens in life, we didn't see each other as much. When you have a good friend, you know in your heart that you don't need to see each other every day to know that the bond is still there.
Tom has truly been an angel for Mike throughout the years. When Mike was first diagnosed, Tom would take him to different events, always making sure to "keep an eye out" for him. He would stop by on his lunch hour with sandwiches or sometimes coffee. He was a constant in our lives. Courtney and Brandon got to know and love him also. He has helped out in so many ways, but none so important as being there for Mike. Now that Mike cannot speak, he still comes to visit and will often just hold his hand. He speaks to him, even though Mike can't answer. Tom has even begun to bring his son with him and when they visit, it feels as though we are "normal". We have been isolated all these years, it's almost as though we have the plague. Tom makes us feel good. I love the fact that Courtney and Brandon have gotten to know Mike's friend. It gives them yet another glimpse into the window of Mike's past.
Tom and his wife have 3 children of their own, they just completed MAJOR renovations on their home and Tom works long hours, but he STILL finds the time to visit and sometimes he even brings over some nice homemade dinners/soups. We even have a new favorite recipe that we lovingly call "Tom's Chicken". His wife made it, but he was the messenger and we loved it so much, we make it often. When Mike was in the hospital, he visited us there. When Tom looks at Mike, he sees past the Alzheimer's, and actually sees a person.
Angels come in all shapes and sizes - this one in particular is about 6 foot, with reddish hair, glasses and a unique sense of humor. We love you Tom and we thank you for remaining a true friend to Mike!!!!!!!!!!!