Monday, November 27, 2006

Do not go gentle

My father died when I was 18. He and my mom were still married at the time, and my mom had spent the prior 5 years taking care of him as the inevitable approached. I know she felt a deep love for my father, but they were the kind of couple that shared a strong passion, but did not otherwise have much in common.

4 years after his death, she met Theo. He loves to do all the things she loves to do. So they spent all of their retirement years dancing, partying, hiking, traveling, going to the opera and then some more partying. Its been wonderful to see my mom so happy...enjoying her favorite things with her favorite person.

This year, though...something changed in Theo. He's no longer able to do the NY Times crossword puzzle each morning and he doesn't have the interest he used to have in egyptian history and quantum physics. He also began throwing out crazy numbers for common things such as weights and temperatures...

Several months ago she received the diagnosis for his confusion...Alzheimers.

Theo is a spunky little fighter and I'm certain he will astound all with how long he will conquer...but my mom has been through this, and she understands all too well the inevitability of the inevitable.

and the loss of a partner.

Yesterday she told me of her plans to go to Europe this summer with Theo. They will be gone for about 6 weeks. And they are both cashing in their nest eggs to do it with. A sort of no holds for the two of them to enjoy.

She had a wry delightful smile on her face when she said it. Only a slight nod of the head, and a knowing look at me, gave hint to her underlying fear. She made certain that Theo only saw the delight.

Then she asked when Michael and I were getting married so that she could schedule her trip around our wedding.

No Mom. You tell me when you want to go. We'll do the rescheduling.

And we'll enjoy every precious moment of our time together, in your honor.


At 8:26 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

thanks giving.

At 8:48 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger PAB said...


At 10:17 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger velogirl said... moved me, Ms. Dukes.

At 6:02 AM, November 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father also has Alzheimers and can no longer read and is on his way on the downhill spiral..It's a tough disease. It sounds like your Mom is an amazing woman. You must of inherited that gene.

At 6:48 AM, November 28, 2006, Blogger X Bunny said...

i hope they have a great trip

and tell them to take pictures cuz i wanna see how much they enjoy themselves

At 7:28 AM, November 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

alzheimers is so awful. my aunt was a world traveller and is now stuck away in a home.

a lovely post but sad. i hope they have a blast.

At 8:25 AM, November 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have tears in my eyes.

your mom sounds amazing.

At 8:58 AM, November 28, 2006, Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Thanks for the perspective and the reminder.

At 10:50 AM, November 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love that movie

The Notebook

good choice for the image in your blog...

At 12:26 PM, November 28, 2006, Blogger Eclectchick said...

Such a moving post.

What I wouldn't give to have a cure for Alzheimers . . . and AIDs, and cancer (which stole my wonderful dad from me and my family WAY too early), and and and


I hope they have a fantastic time. All the best -

At 8:46 AM, November 29, 2006, Blogger nicknameless said...

me too...with the tears

I agree,your mom is amazing. I hope they have the time of their lives.

I wish my Grandparents (who both had Alzheimers) had done something like that


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