I haven’t written in a month or so and have really missed the opportunity of sitting down and putting my thoughts to paper. So much has happened and I am not sure to where to begin. As many of you may or may not know, I was diagnosed with Dementia about 10 months ago, and have been struggling with it since. I miss going to work and seeing people that I have worked with and known for the past 20 plus years. I have been fighting with SSDI for the past 21 months and finally won my case this month. This is something that I am struggling with because I want to work. The Doctors are telling me that I am not hirable because I cant remember things. I know they are right, but as a 49 year old man I have a strong sense of responsibility to my family and be a contributor to this family. I have never been an idle man, always looking for something to do. Looking back on it now it seems to make more sense to me. I have always been one to start a project and half way through I would start another, and that would leave to another and so on. I never seemed to finish what I started. I knew that I was becoming increasingly forgetful, and my wife was noticing it as well. My workplace noticed it and fired me. My second workplace noticed and I was also let go from there. But, this workplace recognized that I was having a difficult time with short term memory and suggested I go and see a doctor. After tests were done on my brain I was told that parts of my brain were dead and others were dying. Shortly after I was told that I have Fronto Temporal Dementia, and that it may have been triggered by Traumatic Brain Injury that I received years earlier. I have come to accept that it is what it is and there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it. My family has come to accept it as well and we have resolved to enjoy every single moment that we have together while I can still realize and understand what is going on around me.
I just got back from a trip to Florida to spend time with my wife, kids, and grandkids. We visited Universal and went on rides that turned my stomach, but the pictures are literally worth a thousand words, and will remain that way for ever. My grandkids ages 7 and 2, had an amazing time going on the rides with us and I realized that this is what is really important. Listening to my children laugh together was remarkable in itself. My daughter-n-law is an amazing mother to my two grandkids and I am so grateful to her for being so good to them as well as my son. Listening to all of them with my two daughters is uplifting to hear. For a week we were all able to put our “real” lives on hold and just have fun. We were able to forget the reality of what is to come, and enjoy each other for the first time in two years. These are the things that I need to live for. These are the things that I will forget in the nearer future than the later. But, these are the things that will live on in my families minds for years and years to come.
I want my family to always know and understand the importance that they have in my life. I choose to believe that when I get to a point where I appear to not notice them, I do, I just am not able to show it. This is something that scares me to some degree. I think that I am most scared about leaving my wife and family and causing them pain and grief. That seriously hurts more than the diagnosis and prognosis. I want my wife to know that she is so very beautiful in every way possible. She is so determined to stare this disease down and face it head on. My wife, Cindy, is a school teacher and has always been the most organized person I know. We joke that when she goes to Heaven, she is going to be bringing a label maker so that she can keep things straight up there too! Cindy has a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody, and I don’t doubt for a second that she would switch places with me if it were at all possible. That is but just one of the things that I love about her. My heart breaks thinking of her being alone in this house and I have been suggesting that she get a roommate once I am forced to go into eldercare, and when I leave this earth for a better home. Some people laugh at me and mock my beliefs, but I truly believe that God is real, and that he loves me and is waiting for me to come home. This is one of the most important things in my life. I love my wife so much that I want and need to believe that we will be together for eternity. This is a promise from God, and I do believe it.
Our faith has kept us going, and many times throughout our marriage we have relied on it to carry us through the rough patches that we all face at some point in our walk on earth and in this life. It is the one thing that has never left us or let us down. We believe that we are called to lift each other up as humans, as friends, strangers, and even our enemies. We believe that we are called to help one another, regardless of circumstance.
There are so many things that I deem important to me. God is of course first, my wife, my children, my siblings and extended families. My families happiness is important to me. I need to know that they will be okay after I am gone. I take much comfort in knowing that my wife and I raised our kids to be self sufficient and to fend for themselves if the need arises. My kids are and always have been my greatest accomplishments. I am sincerely proud of each of them and where they are in their own walks through life. Matthew, 27, is in the the US Navy and is in his sixth year as a MP, or Military Police. Elizabeth, 24, is a school teacher and doing what she has always dreamed of doing. And Cailea, is 22 and still in college getting her degree in Early Childhood Development/Childcare as well. All three of my kids have become young adults that have made their parents so proud. If this world could continue to have children that end up like mine than we would have a world with endless possibilities. Young people don’t seem to get the credit that they so rightly deserve, and need. All people need to be recognized as people that matter. They need to know that they do play a major role in our daily lives, and that we rely on them to step up to the plate if the need becomes necessary.
The important things in life should never be put off till tomorrow. Live for the day and realize that when someone says, “you never know what tomorrow is going to bring” than we need to really hear it. Take the time to tell the people around you that they matter. Tell them that they make a difference, and tell them that you appreciate them Why is it that we all seem to struggle with showing who we really are, and that we have compassion, feelings, and understanding within us. We have all been in a place where we have questioned our own self worth and it is time that we stand up for ourselves and show what that worth really is. We all have the potential to inspire those around us, and if we all were to “pay it forward” than the world really would be a better place. This is something that is important to me, and I hope it is for you too. Please join me in taking a stand for what is right, instead of zeroing in on what is wrong. We all are so quick to spew off all the negativity around us, but seldom share the good. There is goodness all around us, and that should be important to not just me, but to you too.