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Don’t Wait to Fulfill Your Dreams

Ron and I met and married in our early 40’s. We had many dreams and quite a long bucket list. We learned through life experiences that we needed to get started on our dreams. First, we bought a house, then Ron bought me my DREAM car, a green Jaguar. We cruised and we traveled; to Hawaii, the Caribbean, up the NE coast to Canada, up the NW Pacific coast, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and many other cities to watch the Orioles and/or Ravens play. 

It was on a family vacation to Ft. Lauderdale that our concerns with Ron’s forgetfulness deepened. He misplaced his wallet the day before we were to fly home. So out of character for him. We found the wallet in a shopping bag of clothes – again, a decision he would have never ordinarily made. That incident was a turning point. We were both aware of his memory decline. We started seeing a string of physicians and finally got a diagnosis at Copper Ridge: Frontal Lobe Alzheimers. Ron was 62 years old.

He stayed status quo for 5-5 1/2 years. He continued to run his business, a commercial cleaning company. He adapted well. Once his illness began to progress it did so very rapidly. Within a few months he could no longer find his way home. It was obvious he could no longer run his business. We had to sell it. The next 2 years were almost unbearable. Ron became aggressive and sometimes violent. He never hit me, but he was constantly throwing things, yelling and always in a state of anger. My sweet, gentle, best friend was no longer there. It became obvious I could no longer care for him at home. It wasn’t safe for either of us. With help, I had him admitted to Arden Courts Memory Care in Owings Mills, MD. I was pleased with his care, but for 4-5 months he was so angry he was there. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t go home. It was heartbreaking that I had to leave him there. I hated myself for doing this to him. He finally adjusted and it became home for him, but it continued to torture me. This is when I was introduced to PALS (Pretty Awesome Ladies). They came to my rescue. I joined this caring support group and they helped me through those difficult few years.

Ron passed on October 5, 2019 having spent the last 4 years of his life in assisted living. I moved him to a facility one mile from our home and I retired from my 43 year nursing career to spend as much time as possible visiting and taking care of him. By this time he was total care and I felt I belonged by his side as much as possible. He passed away in my arms at 72 years old, his 10 year long battle over. My advice to you is no one knows where our journey will take us, so I encourage you to live life to the fullest (within your means) every day. The future holds no guarantees and I am so thankful that is what Ron and I did. Had we waited till after retirement none of those wonderful times would have happened. There was only one thing left on our bucket list undone, a trip to Alaska. I will go there some day when it is safe and I know he’ll be smiling down on me saying, “you go MUZ, you go.”