I spent a large portion of my time today looking over emails I had saved since 1993. When my husband was suddenly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and we were strongly advised by the Alzheimer’s Association and UCI to keep the diagnosis a secret, I felt I had no one to talk to. I didn’t want to burden my kids, I figured they would see it for themselves soon enough, and they had their own families to take care of.
I started looking in the message boards of the Alzheimer’s Association, and for days I just looked and read the messages. Then one day, out of the blue, I saw a message that said, “I need a hug.” Oh God, I thought, I needed a hug too. So I started writing to my new friend.
As I reread most of those messages this afternoon, I realized how much we needed each other, and yes, how much we helped each other. It was a blessing the day she came into my life. I know she feels the same way. We talked through our problems, our tears, and our future, or lack of one. The caregiver is also a victim.
I was the lucky one, seven years later, they changed my husband’s diagnosis, but my friend is still struggling with her life, as her husband is still here. What will happen to her? I wonder. I care.
I published my secret journal, Behind The Mask, and realized my story is every caregivers story. So now, I’m devoting the rest of my life to this new journey. I’d love to wipe away all the caregivers tears. That’s not possible, but it is possible for everyone to Adopt A Caregiver.Every community has caregivers, you can find them with no problem. Ask at church, in your community, find a caregivers group and tell them you want to adopt a caregiver. Tell them about my plan, my book, my journey. Together, one by one, we can make this happen.
Word of mouth is so potent, one person tells one person, and the seed is planted and spreads. Thank you all for your support and help. It is truly amazing what one person can do; with a little bit of help.
I cried today, reading those old emails..I’m still crying for you Bajha. I love you.
Keep love and kisses in you life. Helene