I share happenings and things that are going on to help others and hold within me the challenges. I have built resiliency and a coping mechanism to help me through challenging times and there are challenging times. I don’t live in a cotton candy clouded – unicorn world. What I see before me and my reality is the suffering and degeneration before my eyes. But who suffers more, the person going through it all or the person watching…we are both suffering but they are different. It is a battle especially when Alzheimer decides to rear its ugly head and smack you in the face! You may have heard of Alzheimer and what it can do but you really don’t know what it is until you experience it first hand.
I will share that in my family, I have aging parents and their suffering is based on age and that is acceptable as aches and pain over take some of the youthful energies that they have had. It is my only sibling and brother who is going through Alzheimer. At 60, it has consumed him and our lives. You slowly see the worsening of a person right before your eyes. The disassembly of a puzzle right before your eyes. Slowly, cognitive skills are stripped away. Motor skills become more challenging to the point where they are not able to care for themselves. The most difficult and toughest part for anyone observing is when they forget who you are and why you are there standing in front of them.
We grew up together and he was always the jokester, the shit disturber and instigator but we also had fun. I grew up fast because at 9, my father had an industrial accident and became a paraplegic and more responsibilities were thrust upon me than normal. I accepted it and our household coped with whatever was thrown our way. Maybe that is where my resiliency emerged from. My brother and I travelled and did road trips together. We laughed and shared. He looked at doing a few side hustles and became proficient at videography…but that slowly fell to the wayside as Alzheimer decided to move in. His work started to slip and so did things between his fingers and thoughts…we knew something was wrong.
I was asked by my doctor that I should go for a DNA test to see if I have the Alzheimer gene within me. I said no. Why would I want to know?! If it was something I have control over, then maybe but this has no pathway out and I am not going to wait and see. I want to experience life and not wait for anything like this to knock on my door.
Anyone who has seen Alzheimer at work knows what I am talking about and all you can do is sit there and try to be present. This one is out of my control and that is the difficult part for me because I like to be able to problem solve…not in this case. What can I do…share memories and try to make him laugh? It is one of the worst things you can experience as a person. At a point, they know what is happening and it is frightening…then as things fade away, do they still know what is going on? We do, we watch and slowly see the person being stripped away to a bare shell of a person. The scariest part…there is nothing you can do about it. I have to accept that I have ceased to exist in his world but he is still ever present in my world. Alzheimer may remove my brother’s memory but it is forever engraved in my mind! It is the long goodbye.
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