Hollywood has shown us many facets of, and has tried in so many ways to portray, what we like to call true love.
Occasionally, at its best, we get a glimpse of it on the silver screen. Hallmark tries to put into words and artists’ depictions how men and women reveal or, at least, would like to reveal their true feelings toward one another. At times, it seems that they both nearly accomplish their aims. Let me see if I can do better.
Some of us have been blessed in being allowed to observe and marvel at the real thing. I count myself among those few.
My sister-in-law was diagnosed about 10 years ago with a degenerative brain disorder that is close to Alzheimer’s. Since that time, she has been gradually sinking into that abyss that will eventually take her away.
At first, it was little things she was unable to do. Then, it progressed to not remembering people and not being able to speak.
The physical deterioration has kept pace with the mental digression.
Her husband, an engineer by trade but also by disposition, has done his best to employ any and every resource at his disposal to help her cope with this horrible thief. He took complete care of her for as long as he physically could.
At a certain point, he had to make a move in order to get her the additional help that she needed. Being the engineer, he had already begun to downsize their existence. He knew the inevitable move was coming, and he wanted to be ready so that he would not need to neglect her during the transition.
They left their former life behind and moved quite a distance away in order to be in a facility that could help him help her. In stark contrast to what some have done, he did not abandon her to their care; he lives on-site and does everything he can for her around the clock.
Those of you who are familiar with this type of condition know the patient can be mean and even violent to those around them in ways that would shock their former selves. Even close loved ones are not immune from these outbursts.
Her schedule, actually her lack of a schedule, is trying to her caregiver. He sleeps when she sleeps; he is awake when she is awake. We have received emails from him at all hours of the day and night.
I have never heard him complain about anything that she needs him to do for her. He must have some long, quiet hours in the night when it is just he and his thoughts. I can’t imagine what those nights must be like.
I could give instances of many other things that I have observed, but I will close with some words borrowed from I Corinthians 13: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
My brother, you have set the bar high for the rest of us.
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