this year, on my birthday (12/21) to be exact. Back in 2004 Mike spent about 2 months in a psychiatric hospital for his anger/agitation. It was a very difficult time for us as a family, but the staff there was so understanding and caring. One of the nurses accompanied Mike and I to the ER so he could be sedated for them to do a CtScan. Unfortunately, Mike had a bad reaction to Haldol and I was distraught. This angel stayed with us, even though her shift was over. I will never forget her kindness.
Christmas Day we were blessed to have our wonderful aide Blanca work with us. This was the first year we can remember that we had an aide on Christmas day, so Courtney and I were able to go to Midnight Mass knowing that I would not have the full responsibility of caring for Mike on Christmas Day (Brandon agreed to stay home with Mike). It was a quiet Christmas, but special nonetheless. We waited to open our presents until Mike was cleaned and dressed (about 10 a.m.) and then we moved him into the dining room area so he could be a part of the festivities. The entire time we were opening presents, Mike's eyes were wide open, then we took liberty and all posed for individual pictures with Mike. We ended with a family photo which we posted above, along with a picture of Mike and Blanca.
Every year Christmas and New Years is a difficult time, and I am thankful that I have enough to keep me occupied so that I don't have much time to think. As soon as I stop, even for a moment, my mind goes to thoughts about what our life would have been like without Alzheimer's Disease. I look at Mike and cry: for all that he has missed and for all of Mike's love, attention and encouragement that our children will never know.