Dementia

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December 4

Monday, December 4th, 2023

As you may know, we buried my sister-in-law last Thursday.  (Thanks for your prayers. We traveled over 700+ miles in less than 4 days).  For the past 4 years she has been a resident of Parkvue Care Center in Sandusky, OH. (Jo & I give them 100%-and if possible higher for the job they have done in taking care of Vicki). Her battle with diabetes gave us no option but to get her into a place that could take care of her. We offered to bring her to Indiana with us but she refused (“This is my home and my friends”), so we accommodated her wishes. For the first two years, she thrived. She participated; her naturally shy personality became outgoing; she made friends; she laughed; did wheelchair exercises; went on treks with the residents; and adjusted well to three meals and regular meds.

But another disease was lurking and eventually pounced. Diabetes led to dialysis, but the one that pounced was dementia, which eventually because full-bore Alzheimer’s. The last couple of times we were there she did not know me or Jo at all. She held out knowing Jo a bit longer until she was too enveloped in the cloud of lost memory.

It is heart-breaking to see people you know and love get lost in a world neither they, nor you, understand. Once sharp minds cannot even remember how to put shoes on or how to button a blouse, or worse, their own name. Communication is a lost art as they become swallowed up in a cloud of fog. One of our last memories of our last visit was her refusal to get out of her wheelchair to stand in order to be transported. “NO!” was her answer. My last memory was going back into her room before we left, “waking her” from her peaceful sleep, and saying, “Vicki, I want you to know that Jo and I love you and I’m glad you were sister-in-law.” I saw a slight smile hit her lips followed by some incoherent words. I’m clueless on what she said but I do believe she heard me.

She is now with Jesus, reunited with her mother and father (whom she really missed) and others from the church she attended who preceded her. Death for the follower of Jesus is never the end. It’s just the beginning of a whole new life that goes on forever.

And her memory is perfect.

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I review a book called Memorable Loss by Karen Martin on my other site- Cycleguy’s Spin. Please head over their for a review on a very good book on Alzheimer’s.