By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Sometimes she said soon, sometimes next year, sometimes she would tell me she was going to live to be a hundred years old. Sometimes she said she wished she would die. She sometimes said, I would be better off dead.
Before January 2012, I either said out loud or thought to myself, not yet, when Dotty said she wanted to die.
I usually said to her, not yet, your not ready. I meant that when I said it. I actually think I started saying that to her about 20 years ago whenever she referred to death or dying.
Something changed in January. It was not a subtle change, it was a dramatic change. Dotty started putting her head on my chest when she woke up in the morning. She also did this randomly at other times.
There is another wrinkle that I never mentioned before. I rarely wear a shirt when at home. The reason is simple. I cannot lower the thermostat below 78 degrees here. Why? Because if I lower it by even one degree Dotty would say, I'm freezing.
So I adapted. One of the ways I adapted was by walking around in a pair of shorts with no shirt in the house. I am still doing this by the way, and the thermostat is still set on 78. Go figure?
So when Dotty put her head on my chest, it was my bare chest. As a result, I could really feel Dotty. Her warmth. Her contentment.
When Dotty put her head on my chest for the first or second time I had an immediate thought, actually a revelation. I thought, Dotty is ready to go to Heaven. I was convinced in my own mind that this was true. I had no doubt. Not a single doubt.
This feeling was the exact opposite of what I felt and thought in all the previous years.
Dotty was ready to go to Heaven. But she didn't go to Heaven right away. She gave me time to get ready.
For as long as I can remember, I was convinced that Dotty would have to change before she could go to Heaven. I had a crystal clear idea in my mind of what the change might be.
I really didn't know for certain if Dotty would ever make the change. However, during the last few years of caring for Dotty I became more and more confident that she would.
I saw the subtle changes in her. Little by little.
I didn't know it at the time, but it did dawn on me after a year or so, that everything was changing when Dotty and I chose the path to Joy and left the burden behind. The dynamic changed.
Don't get me wrong, we did have burdens. But to me they seemed more like real life burdens when they came, not like the kind of burden many associate with Alzheimer's disease or the other types of dementia.
What was the change that Dotty needed to make before she went to Heaven?
What role did Alzheimer's disease play in this change?
Would you care to speculate or do you have an opinion on this? If so, use the comments box below to tell us what you might be thinking.
Today, or if not today tomorrow, I will write about the specific change that Dotty made, and the role that Alzheimer's played in this change.
I believe that Dotty underwent an important change, more or less the completion of her life. She closed the circle. She learned what she needed to learn. And then,
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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,711 articles with more than 302,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room