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26. Phil

She knew we needed to talk about it. And we did. For hours.

Planning was essential, including getting me, a guy who had needed help all the time, to the point I could be a caregiver myself.

25. Numbers

Fear of death is wired into our psyches because, like loneliness, it is a survival mechanism. Being part of the herd protects us from the tiger. Fearing pain and death protects us from doing something to jeopardize our lives or well-being.

24. Bud

It started with periods of denial for both of us, and the eventual crying while we held each other tight. Sobbing our way through the trauma. The loss of a future. The ultimate loss of the magical bond that started over 35 years ago.

23. Promises

Maybe a fiscal fairy tale would come true. It happens all the time. If it did, Ken would still suffer from breaking promises to Darlene, and feel all the associated guilt. But at least he wouldn’t need to worry about money issues.

22. Ken

With each Alzheimer’s stage she entered, I felt pangs of anxiety compounded by oppressive claustrophobia. It felt like my world was closing in.

21. Practicality

The French use the term, ennui. It is a kind of boredom that comes from living in an emotional vacuum, an existence in which no one is either happy or unhappy. Just an easy, comfortable, predictable, routine existence punctuated with brief moments of either joy or sadness.

20. Sam

I watched her asleep on the bed, sensing she would be a different woman when she woke up. Subtle maybe, but still different. Every day. Almost every hour.

19. Choices

The year 1960 was pivotal in many ways. It was a collision point between faith in God-given possibilities and the emergence of bad choices made by the world’s leaders.

18. Bill

Now that woman who saved my life in so many ways is fading away. And God seems to be going with her.

17. Insight

Just as feelings of love seem viable and evident in the afflicted brain, so does the knowledge that a life has had meaning.

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