Thursday, July 12, 2012


This picture is from Billy's birthday last July 12 in 2011. 

This is Billy today - a notable difference, but we see it more in behaviors than in his looks, but the big smile from last year is not seen often. 

Billy and Shelley - our sweet daughter who loves her dad with all her heart. 

Today was Billy's 56th birthday. He had no idea what day it was, and each time I told him that it was his birthday, he was surprised. I picked him up for lunch, and we met Jonathan and Debra Hooper at a favorite restaurant in Fort Worth. Billy and Jonathan have been friends since their college days in the 70s, and the four of us have been friends since before we married. We've shared many meals together in the last 31 years, and today may have been the most unusual visit we've had.  Billy and Jonathan have always bantered, joked, and laughed about whatever the topic. Billy fell into the same type of banter when he saw Jonathan, but he can no longer verbalize what he's thinking, or maybe he's thinking in disjointed sentences. He wants to participate in conversations we are having when we are with friends, and he will say something to get our attention, and as soon as we all look to him for what he has to say, he either trails off, or he says something totally off the wall. Our typical reaction is to laugh, and that seems to work well because Billy has always been pretty funny, but the reality is - it's not all that funny. Alzheimer's Disease has made this 56 year old man seem like a ten year old when he's in social situations. I'm a big fan of keeping your sense of humor during all of this, but some days my humorous outlook wanes. 

I'm good at keeping up a positive front when I'm with Billy and others, but when I get home and stop all my busy stuff, I sometimes have my moments. My last post was about the bittersweet reminders of June, and as I was reading through it again, I realized that any month of the year will have reminders of happier times. Billy's birthday was today, and our son's birthday is in three days on the 15th - always another difficult reminder that we don't have him here. Through blogging, I've met several other women whose husbands have Alzheimer's Disease.  One of them, Karen from New York said not long ago that she had never shed as many tears for anything as she had over AD. Her husband was diagnosed at age 36, and passed away this past February at 47. Karen's two children were very young when they began this journey. Another friend is Delores, and her husband is in the last stages of AD, and even though the term sounds as though death is imminent, a person can live in the last stages for years. Billy's mom was in the final stages for 3-4 years. Delores has days when she is overwhelmed with missing her husband of 49 years, but she sees blessings in so many things that may seem trivial to others. My friend, Sandy from Pennsylvania, cares for her husband who is in the earlier stages than Billy, but she already feels the brunt of caregiving for a person with AD.  Sandy's husband is in his mid 40s, and they have two teenagers. All of us blog about our experiences and the unsolicited journey of this disease, and we all have rather different styles of sharing, but we have much in common - a disdain for Alzheimer's Disease, a strong faith in God, a firm belief in seeing our spouses healthy again, and we have moments of sadness and frustration.  I'm glad I'm not alone on this journey, but I hate that so many are effected by AD. 

I am not sad all the time - I can't be. I have blessings galore, and I am thankful for those. I am very thankful to have enjoyed a nice two weeks away from work, and I'll be ready to go back on Monday. I love getting ready for the new school year, and I get just as excited as I did twenty years ago. We have the dearest friends who walk this journey with us, and our family is always with us.  As Delores says in all of her posts....God is good. 


  1. Kathy, as is not unusual, I have tears is my eyes as I read through your post. The picture of Billy from last year and this year spoke volumes and my herat broke knowing all that you have gone through during that time. I have been more emotional lately, everything seems to make me cry. I completely understand your frustration, anger, sadness and feeling of loss. You seem to be surrounded by wonderful people and I pray they will continue to be there for you. I offer my prayers always and wish you strength. Take care of yourself.

  2. I have been folowing you along with Dolores. As I mentioned in your one blog . As a family we have loss loved ones to this terrible Disease. It is so hard I know. It is the behaviours that take over. I worked in a nursing home and it was there I learned fast with Alzheimer patients.
    How to be with them when they quickly turn from peaceful to aggressive . Not all do but I did have some . So I was taught how to approach them in a nice manner of course. Some became violent to me. All in the training aspects of it. So I do understand what all of you are dealing with. Emotions for sure.

  3. Oh Kathy, it is not an easy journey we are on is it? I miss the old Curt also and it makes me so sad some days to just think about how this disease has totally destroyed a great man. You have been through much in your life and you can still remain positive that is such a testimony to God. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.....and I am really realizing that is the only way I can get any strength cuz on my own it's pretty much shot!! :) I have a sign hanging up in our family room that says, "Remember the moments not the days" I like it because it kind of sums things up, the days are long and tough, but there are some great moments to cherish along the way. Praying for you my friend. Glad to walk this journey with you!

  4. Oh Kathy, it breaks my heart for you, Billy and your family to know what you're going through. Our experiences are very similar, except Billy is so much younger than David. David was diagnosed when he was 67. Billy is so young....

    Today's been one of my crying days. For three days straight David is sleeping when I go to see him, and I can't wake him up... I'm feeling so sad for him, and I know you feel the same with Billy. It doesn't seem fair, but who said life is fair.

    We gather our strength from our faith, family and friends and friends I've never met in person.... but I know we feel each others pain.
    Hugs and prayers,