We Adopted Each Other

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

Comments

  1. Hi Helen, I am a patient of Dr. Schofields and I send him lots of email stuff too – and I know you are a great email sender too.

    I was a caregiver for my son who was injured when he was with the Army in Germany. He had been in the VA hospital but the care was horrible so I decided with our family support we would bring Brian home and take care of him. That’s how I met Dr. Schofield. Brian died in 2000, due to respiratory problems as a result of his accident in 1989. He lived a lot longer than the docs at the VA hospital thought he would.

    I do know first hand the flip side of being caregiver, that is what it can do to you mentally and physically. After Brian died, my body and spirit fell apart. We were also raising a grandson because our daughter was found to be mentally disabled and couldn’t take care of Tom much less herself. We raised Tom from the time he was very little and he’s still with us except that actually, he’s in Iraq now with the Army.

    We are still taking care of people but trying to escape and I wonder what God is trying to tell us. Our oldest son moved home in February after losing his job, then he had a motorcycle accident in April – he is recovering now. Our youngest son and his daughter live with us also – we babysit when he works. She is going on 8 and a great young lady.

    We just celebrated our 44th anniversary and we are hoping to find a house with only one bedroom so no one can move in – just kidding.

    I believe we each have a different burden to carry through this life and how we get through each day determines how the day will end. As you know it’s not as simple as that, but its what I tell my friends. I am working on a blog in memory of my son, but I haven’t started it yet – its still painful.

    I know you understand because you have been there in one form of grief or stress in your life. I haven’t read through your whole blog/website yet, but I will. Check out my blog if you get a chance – http://justthinkinaboutit.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for all your contribution to Dr. Schofield’s email I do enjoy receiving them too. Take good care –

    Jean
    jasullivan@cox.net

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