Monday, May 4, 2009

A little help

The only way to survive Alzheimer’s is by reaching out. I can’t imagine those people who huddle at home, hide the disease, and die in fear. This applies to both the sufferer and the caregiver as AzD really is a disease that strikes more than the one who gets the official diagnosis.

The caregiver dies inside little by little too. I know that. I see it happening to me. I know how difficult it is to keep wearing the brave happy face. My husband’s doctor has stressed how important it is to maintain social contacts. For me friends and colleagues are life itself.

I retired last year from teaching because Bob required more of my time, patience, and energy. I am blessed to have been able to continue part time. (Sometimes I question my sanity as I do 75% of what I did before but get 42% of the pay. Funny thing is I love it!) My job and my contacts at school are my sanity.

I am certain that teachers are indeed the very best people in the world. I live that reality every day. My stories are not often upbeat, but at lunch someone always asks. At the end of the day, somebody is bound to stick a head into my classroom to check on me. The number of shoulders inviting me to rest humbles me. And these aren’t long time friends. Most of my closest folks retired ahead of me. These are younger people who are at the beginning of their lives, families, and careers. They are often my daughters’ ages. Yet they reach out and I am strengthened by them.

Like all good teachers, they also invite me to be better than I truly am. Their support and expectations leave me determined to be what they imagine me to be.

I do get by with a lotta help from my friends.

1 comment:

  1. We love you Mench! You teach us how to be gracious and optimistic and how to find humor in the woes of each day. We are the luckiest.