January 9, 2019

Devoted Now and Forever – Ron & Judi

The ravaging effects of dementia do not overshadow love; it gives it meaning.

Judi was known for her compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and smile. Her initial Alzheimer’s diagnosis was heart-wrenching for her husband, Ron, knowing that he would watch this amazing person slowly slip away. But like everything else they faced in life, they would face this together. You see “For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” were not just words to Ron and Judi, but a calling.

Six months ago, the effects of Alzheimer’s worsened to the point where Judi needed 24/7 nursing care, and Ron knew Brookcrest was the best place for Judi.

Despite their situation, Ron and Judi remained devoted, and they recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary. Adorned with flowers, Ron gave his bride a love letter he had written.

Ron’s love letter to Judi has created lasting memories not just for them, but for the entire family at Brookcrest. Their love for each other is a blessing and encouragement to everyone at Brookcrest.

“We were just kids 48 years ago today (Nov. 13, 1970), you were 19, and I was 20.

It seems like just yesterday we held hands and made vows to God and each other that we would LOVE and CHERISH each other ‘For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.’ Those vows mean more to me today than ever before.

The tears that are falling as I write this are for all we have been through this last year. It’s hard to understand how God has put so much love in my heart for you, but I have to watch you slowly slip away from me.

Every day that I visit you, my love grows deeper and stronger than the day before. There were so many times when I would mess up. With a smile on your face you would say, ‘It’s alright, you did what you thought was best for us and the kids, tomorrow is another day.’ So many times, you understood me, and I failed to understand you. So many things I took for granted –shame on me. There are so many little things that mean so much to me now. Simple things like a kiss or a hug, or just holding hands.  These little things will be treasured forever.

When I visit you, and it is time for me to go, it breaks my heart to hear you say, ‘I want to go with you!’ All I can do is turn and walk out the door, holding back the tears and reminding myself, ‘I did the right thing. This is the best place for her!’

I love your smile when you see me! I love your laughter and funny little giggle!

I love the way you wink at me and softly say, ‘I love you!’ I love the silly things you do now, like eating squash with your fingers – ‘What a mess.’ I love the way you try to care for your new family at Brookcrest. Your heart is so big!

Unless someone has been through it, they cannot understand the pain and heartache of Alzheimer’s. I wish this journey had never started. It’s so unfair.

I know the day is coming when you will not know who I am, and that all I will have left are the memories that we made together. So today on our 48th wedding anniversary, and while you still can understand, I want you and the world to know how much I love you. That my love is deeper and stronger for you than ever before. That I will always LOVE and CHERISH you, now and forever.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

-Ron