|Jean Lee looks for sunshine streaming|
through the clouds of Alzheimer's.
At the time of their diagnosis, Ed Church struggles to his feet, yelling, “How dare you use the A. word with me,” while Ibby wags her finger at the doctor scolding, “Shame on you.” They’d defend each other, Ibby by asserting, “We’re not leaving our home,” and Ed reassuring, “We’re just fine.” Ed states, “I’m an excellent driver, I’ve never had an accident.” When their daughter finds dings in Ed’s car, he dismisses, “Someone must have hit me.
At dinnertime Ibby makes excuses, “Let’s eat out. The stove won’t work.”
After moving them to assisted living, convinced they are on a second honeymoon, they break the news, “We’ve decided not to have more children.”
In the late stages, they shake their daughter’s hand, inquiring, “Now, who are you?”
Both of my parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s on the same day. I lived one mile from them, but my only sibling, my sister lived 1,000 miles away. Three years prior to the diagnosis, we grew concerned as their mental clarity declined. My sister suggested I keep a journal of oddities. Whenever we spoke by phone, I’d open the journal and My journal became the core of a book honoring my parents’ love story and documenting their simultaneous decline.
|Jean Lee, author of|
Infused with the romance of my parents’ WWII love letters, Alzheimer’s Daughter is written in three parts.
- The first introduces readers to my parents as healthy, vibrant lovers, raising my sister and me during the ‘God and Country’ era of the post-WWII 1950’s through the rebellious Vietnam protests of the 1970’s.
- The second details my journal, as our parents’ off-kilter episodes increase ––some as subtle as becoming lost in a favorite shopping mall, escalating to Ibby throwing things in anger.
- In the last portion, I search for family treasures among the trash as I dismantle and sell the family home in which my parents have become hoarders.
I seek peace by envisioning Ed and Ibby together, restored and reunited; while I hope telling their story provides help to you, as you grapple with your own caretaking decisions. My heart goes out to you. Blessings to you as you look for sunshine streaming through the clouds of Alzheimer’s.
Jean Lee lives with her husband in small-town Ohio, twenty minutes from anything. Although she worked full time while her parents were ill, she is now retired after twenty-two years of teaching elementary school. Her children are married with children of their own. Five grandchildren are her greatest blessings. You may contact Jean by email, read her blog or vist her on facebook or twitter.
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