The Victim: 1993

The diagnosis is in. In the blink of an eye I become a caregiver. I am the one in charge, caring for someone who no longer can care for himself. The more he deteriorates the harder I wil have to work, not only physically but to hide my emotions as well. To stuff away in a trunk all my tears, feelings, anger and hurt; not to be opened until we are separated by death. Then, and only then, will I be able to acknowledge what all caregivers know.

The death sentence for Alzheimer’s Disease is for two people. One is the prisoner of his mind, and the other is a prisoner of his soul.

I refuse to be a victim. I reject wallowing in self-pity or mournful depression. Instead I celebrate life with my family and my friends and vow to be fully alive in the moment.

The Reprieve: 2000

Seven years later, God’s plans have changed. I am no longer climbing that steep winding mountain. The disease has either slowed down, or never materialized.

The strength of the mountain is within me. I am walking on level ground with peace and happiness and love.

I can handle whatever comes next with God’s help.

The above is the first page of Behind The Mask. A few people have mistakenly thought that Howard still had Alzheimer’s Disease, and I wanted to set the record straight.