2007 we accepted the fact that my beloved husband's diagnosis was Alzheimers - the dreaded, horrible condition that would take the man I had loved for 53 years and leave a shell. We talked, planned, accepted and then told our three adult children. Their immediate reaction was - we're with you all the way. Praise God our three children, in-law children and our grandchildren have helped every way possible and continue without complaint. It has now been 7 full years and he has entered last stage where he does not know me or his children - this is the hardest of all things to accept. I am a strong person but when he looks at me with fear in his eyes, and he does not know who I am, where he is, who he is - it breaks my heart all over again. The thing that no one prepares the caregiver for is the absolute loneliness - the helplessness, the fear of the unknown and the loss of your best friend, lover, confidant, protector and there is nothing that can be done about it - nothing. We understand and accept what is but the hurt goes so deep that it interrupts sleep and rest. I go as hard as I can each and every day because to stop and think is unbearable. I involve myself in my home, church, family and cook. I take care of my husband but am fortunate to have around the clock caregivers assistance and our children. Each evening a son-in-law or our son helps me put him to bed-I do the cleaning and dressing because I feel that is my right and responsibility. The grandsons also take turns helping. One time, before he lost all memory, he apologized that I was having to help him so much. I responded that he had taken such good care of me the first 50 years of marriage so I would take care of him the second 50. He thought for a minute and said but you won't live that long! It is what it is,I love him..

Bernice Pearson
Lavonia, GA