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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Life After Dotty - Five Months Later


Sooner or later, I'll gather up the strength, motivation, and goal orientation to move forward my beliefs about Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's caregiving.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room


Life After Dotty - Five Months Later
Can I get something to eat in this joint?
Dotty went to Heaven on May 25,2012.

Recently our long time reader Arnie emailed me to ask how I was doing, and inquire about any decisions I might be making about my future.

I am in very good health. As many of you know, the Alzheimer's Reading Room is cranking right along. I am putting in about 40 hours a week on the blog.

I think of Dotty all the time. Mostly I think about things I could be doing with Dotty. Interestingly, and for the most part, when I think of doing things with Dotty I envision doing them with the pre-Alzheimer's Dotty. What I mean is, the Dotty I knew over the entire course of my life.

I do want to make a couple of things clear.

First, I am not experiencing any blow back from Alzheimer's. I don't any have regrets about how Dotty and I handled Alzheimer's. I am not having any negative thoughts at all that relate to my caregiver effort. There are no ghosts in the closet.

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Second, people continue to believe, and say, I had no life during this 8 and a half years of caring for Dotty. I understand people are entitled to their own thoughts and points of view. But, I want to make it clear, my life during that period was rich in spirit, and fulfilling.

Someone had to take care of Dotty, and that someone was me. Very simple.

I intend to remain a part of the Alzheimer's Community. I full intend to become more active over time, and I fully intend to discover ways to enrich the lives of Alzheimer's caregivers.

I'll find a way to expand what I have been doing on the Alzheimer's Reading Room. To extend it's reach.

As many of you know, the ARR exists today because of caregivers. In the beginning caregivers spread the work in support groups and via email. Basically by word of mouth. This is why we exist today.

We continue to grow now via word of mouth, but faster via search engines like Google, and to a lesser extent via social media.

I will unleash the knowledge that exists here on the ARR to a broader audience sooner or later. I say sooner or later because even though I have every intention of writing in book form, it has not yet happened.

I am feeling more energized each day. However, after more than 8 years of living a very precise pattern of life, I am finding it a bit difficult to introduce a new and different pattern of productivity into my life. I'm working on it.

I do miss Dotty. But not in any way that could be described as negative.

As has always been the case, I learned in the most recent phase of my life, just like I learned from my experience over my entire life. I learned a lot from Dotty.

One thing I learned is that I should not have let Dotty live alone as long as I did. I cannot change the past. I will change the future by explaining my beliefs to other children in the hopes that they will listen and take action with their parents long before they enter the age of the oldest old. For me, that is 80 years of age.

You'll notice I said "hope they will listen". Some will. Everyone gets to choose their own path.

Dotty and I chose Joy over burden. So in a very real sense it will be part of mission in life to lead Alzheimer's caregiver to the "fork in the road". Let them choose which path they want to take - Burden or Joy.

Sooner or later, I'll gather up the strength, motivation, and goal orientation to move forward my beliefs about Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's caregiving. Many of my beliefs are different that those that are being forwarded in the community today.

As I move forward, I will be a compilation of all the wonderful people I have met during the course of my entire life. But the biggest impact will come from those of you right here that have supported first Dotty and me, and now me. I continue to be amazed about by the positive impact support can have on your life.

I learned a great deal about Alzheimer's, but more importantly about people and life over these soon to be nine years.

I won't let it go to waste.

As I choose the path I want to travel be assured of one thing - Dotty will be sitting on my shoulder encouraging me all along the way.

Dotty looks really really good to me.

Dotty was not diminished in any way by Alzheimer's. And, neither was I.

So Arnie, I cannot say for certain exactly how I am going to attack the future at the moment. However, I full intend to attack.

I will remain active in the Alzheimer's community and I will become a positive force.

I will find a way to put caregivers on the path to Joy. Along the way, I will work diligently to eliminate the stigma that is attached to Alzheimer's and the deeply forgetful.

It is my belief that that the deeply forgetful are not less, they are More.

And, I believe they prove they are More because I know from experience that they never stop loving, and in fact,

They Love You More.




Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room