Caring for my wife was the hardest thing I ever did. Alzheimer’s hit us both like a truck. We never saw it coming. All of our retirement plans changed. We wouldn’t travel as we expected. Our daughter-in-law moved in with us, sometimes even neglecting her own family. All the pleasant days we anticipated became a long string of dark, difficult, endless weeks of frustration, punctuated by missed appointments and distant friends. I grew resentful as my wife’s disease progressed. All of my hopes and dreams for a happy retirement were lost in a sea of her need for my constant attention and affection. These were the hardest days of my life… but I would not trade them for all the treasures on earth or in heaven. These were my hardest days, but in the end, they turned out to be my best days.
I can’t tell you how often I hear similar words from exhausted, grieving spouses and children. Daughters rekindle relationships with estranged fathers. Children move home to take care of their mothers and fathers. Husbands learn how to cook and do laundry. Stoic sons become affectionate and tender with their ailing mothers. Grandchildren give up parties to tenderly bathe their grandparents. Wives open their wounded hearts to men who were rarely kind to them through many painful and arduous years of marriage.
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