Dotty left me with a feeling of enormous Joy.
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Dotty went to Heaven shortly after 5 AM on Friday, May 25. I was there.
When Dotty went to Heaven
I had my arm around her, my cheek on her cheek, and I gently whispered in her ear
Go into the Light.
I had more to say, but for now that is between Dotty and me. After I said my peace, I turned my head and looked up at the ceiling.
You might be wondering why?
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In the past I read extensively on the near death experience. This happens when a person dies, and then comes back to life.
The majority of these people describe their experience in an almost exact identical way.
When they die, they soar out of their body and hover about the scene.
They can see themselves lying there dead. They see everyone. They hear everything that is being said.
They also say they are encompassed with an overwhelming feeling of peacefulness, and that they are encompassed in an enormous bright light. They are in the "light".
When they come back to life many feel as if their life is not yet complete. They have a mission to accomplish on earth. Others who come back are very bitter. They didn't want to come back. The feeling of peacefulness was all encompassing, so pervasive, that they did not want to come back into their physical body.
When I turned my head and looked up at the ceiling I smiled. I wanted Dotty to know that I was going to be fine, and happy.
I didn't say anything out loud, but I did send a clear message. I suppose I thought she could read my mind.
I didn't see Dotty up there. I was hoping I would.
When Dotty went to Heaven
she looked incredibly peaceful, beautiful actually. It was really impressive. Heart warming. Uplifting. I burned that image into my mind.
Some of you have speculated that you think and believe it was more difficult, painful, or frightening than I let on,
Before Dotty went to Heaven.
Well, for sure it was difficult, emotionally taxing for sure. But spiritually -- wonderful. Why? Because I knew that
Dotty was getting ready to go to Heaven.
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I knew for sometime, or at least believed for several months, that Dotty had completed her mission on earth, and was getting ready to
Go to Heaven.
I was not caught off guard.
After Dotty went to Heaven
I felt numb. Dull. But I wasn't unhappy. I just couldn't get attached to my feelings immediately because I was physically drained. Caregiving drains you little by little.
After everyone cleared out, I went into the living room, looked up to Heaven and said in loud, clear, strong voice,
Franny, I did it.
Franny is my father, Frank DeMarco. He died 20 years ago in the same room that Dotty died in. Dotty and Franny both received their final wish,
to die at home.
Twenty years ago I promised Franny over and over, and before he died, that I would take care of Dotty. It wasn't hard to do, it was not a burden. I knew that this was what I was going to do long before Franny died.
I promised myself, long before I promised Franny, that I would take care of both of them. And, that I would do everything humanly possible to give them their wish,
to die at home with dignity.
Frankly, both Dotty and Franny had some fear that they would be put in a home to die some horrible death, and to be forgotten. I suppose this was a result of what they saw happen when they were younger and impressionable.
To be honest, both Franny and Dotty both looked very peaceful after they died. Since Franny was first, I must admit I was surprised at how good he looked to me. I didn't expect it. Dotty? Well Dotty is Dotty, so what can I say. She never stopped surprising me, not even at the end.
Many of you prayed for Dotty. Thank you. Many of you are now praying for me. Please don't stop.
As many of you know, many years ago Dotty and I decided to leave the burden behind. We decided to walk along the path leading to Joy.
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For a long time now, I have been able to feel this Joy in a real and tangible way. I feel it in my heart. My heart is not pounding or beating fast when I feel the Joy. However, I can feel my heart at all times. It seems bigger, heavier, and fuller. Caregiving is an effort of the heart and mind.
The feeling of Joy is cumulative I believe. It is not a fleeting feeling. The feeling is well beyond what you might call happy.
I don't want to mislead you. I am crying gently as I write this. I blew my nose 4 times.
Nevertheless, I am not sad. I am feeling the Joy coming from within me.
Some of you might get to hear me speak in the future. If so, you can decide for yourselves how you think I might be feeling.
I never thought I would say this, but the creation of the Alzheimer's Reading Room was an act of Joy, not burden.
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I can say with complete confidence that each of you are a direct reflection of the Joy I am feeling.
Please know. It is my belief that
Dotty went to Heaven.
She went on her own terms, and she went in her own home, as she wished.
I cannot imagine how it could have been better.
So when you think of Dotty, and when you think of me, please remember
When Dotty went to Heaven
it was a beautiful event.
I won't be forgetting that, not ever.
Dotty left me with a feeling of enormous Joy. I won't forget that either.
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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.
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"The Alzheimer’s Reading Room is what it claims to be – and more".
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~ Rudy Tanzi, Harvard, Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world
Purpose the reason for which something is done or for which something exists. Having as one's intention or objective.
Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well being defined by positive emotions ranging from contentment to joy. Happy mental states also reflect judgement by a person about their overall well being.
Joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. A heightened feeling of happiness.
Caregiver is a person who gives help and protection to someone who is sick or in need.
Trust the firm belief in the reliability and truth of someone. Trustworthy a person you can rely on; a person you have confidence in.
Love an intense feeling of deep affection.
Cope. To face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties in an effective and calm manner or way.