50: Bring Him to Me

50: Bring Him to Me

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

Bring Him to Me

In union there is strength.

~Aesop

My husband John was fifty-four when he was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. John was young, gifted, and talented. A loving husband, dad, brother, and friend.

Within a year he had to retire from the industry where we had met thirty-three years before. We were shocked. What would life be like?

When first diagnosed, John was still able to drive, so he would sometimes go to the driving range or come by the office so we could go to lunch. He also spent his days working around the house and taking care of the yard.

Then he began spending time with an acquaintance of ours who had recently lost his wife. Ray was no longer able to drive, so John started out taking him out once a week for breakfast, which soon turned into three days a week for breakfast and lunch. A beautiful new friendship had begun.

Then the time came when our doctor told John he could no longer drive. Although John seemed to take the news pretty well, my new concern was what would he do all day at home alone? He was so used to being around others.

On the way home from the doctor’s office we stopped by Ray’s house and the three of us went to dinner. When John stepped away from the table, I told Ray the news. I explained that John would no longer be able to come by and that my only option would be to take John to an adult day center during the days while I was at work. That’s when our dear friend said these four sweet words: “Bring him to me.”

Starting the next day, I began taking John to Ray’s house, and the two of them would spend their days together. Other friends and family members would stop by several times a week and take them both to breakfast or lunch. Some days, I would stop on the way home from work and pick up dinner for the three of us, only to arrive and hear the sweet sound of the two of them singing along while watching the Gaithers performing on television.

They spent lots of time together enjoying each other’s company and reflecting on days of their past. But once John started to wander, a common behavior of Alzheimer’s disease, I had to start taking him to an adult day center. We would still visit Ray or take him dinner and the three of us would cry when Ray would tell John how much he loved and missed him.

John continues to attend the adult day center; however, our sweet friend Ray passed away this past March at age ninety. His words, “Bring him to me,” will remain with me always.

~Susan Young

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