For part one of Ben’s Story CLICK HERE
Lora thought back on the life they’d had so far. They’d had their moments, sure, but it had mostly been a happy life. They both loved their jobs and in their free time, they adventured as a family. They’d go on hikes and Ben and the kids would splash in the lakes or rivers while Lora set out her art supplies and went to sketching or painting wherever they were. They did a family movie night every Friday, and Ben would often pause the movie here and there to point out something they could all learn from or to ask a question like “What do you think this says about human nature?” Lora and the kids would throw pillows at him and tell him to just watch the movie and stop being so smart already.
She sighed and picked herself up off the bed. What now? Where did she go from here? She called a doctor and made an appointment, knowing that Ben would fiercely protest.
“My memory is fine,” he would say. “I’m just getting old! Nothing to make a scene about.”
Three months later, and Ben was in the severe phases of Alzheimer’s disease. Lora could no longer care for him alone. He couldn’t work anymore (though that had been one of the last things to go. Amazingly, he’d been able to remember all of his philosophy work for a long time). And when she went to work he would get confused or angry and take the car out and get lost somewhere, no matter how many times she told him to please stay at home. The kids tried to help, but there was only so much they could do. Jace lived two hours away and Lea was married with two kids of her own.
It was time to face the fact that she had to find an assisted living home for him. No, for both of them. She wasn’t letting him go without her. She looked around at the log cabin home she loved so very much. Well it didn’t matter, home wouldn’t be home without Ben. She called a memory care facility near them that she’d heard great things about and scheduled a tour.
Three weeks later, boxes were packed up and the moving van was carting them off to the assisted living residence. Jace, Lea, Ben, and Lora looked at their beautiful home they all loved so much. They took turns sharing sweet memories of the place, and then they all hugged and cried. Ben and Lora joined hands, and in a sweet moment of lucidity, Ben said, “This is a new adventure for us babe. I’m sorry we have to leave our old one behind.”
Lora drove them to their new home: a beautiful, charming old building that was the assisted living home for Alzheimer’s patients. Their room had a view of the mountains and she hung family pictures on all the walls, along with some of her sketches and book covers from Ben’s favorite philosophy books.
Had you asked Ben and Lora if this was where their lives would lead, of course they would have said no. Life took an unfair and tragic turn of events. And yet, here they were. They could see the best greenery that Colorado had to offer, their kids visited often, and they were together. Alzheimer’s disease may steal memory, but they still had their moments, sharing stories and laughing over the past, the things that hadn’t been stolen from Ben’s mind yet. And they cherished the moments they had together, unideal as they may be.