Estelle and her husband, Nevin, have been married 71 years. Now that is a long marriage. Sadly, for the past ten years, Estelle has been the major caregiver for Nevin after he developed Alzheimer's disease.
He and Estelle have known each other since they were in school together. They had a good marriage and raised three girls together.
On Saturday morning, Estelle called to tell me Nevin had died at 6:00 a.m. in bed at home. They went to sleep Friday night holding hands. Doctors had told the family that Nevin would not live more than another day or two. He didn't make it a full day. But before he fell asleep he had thrown kisses to those who cared for him. He was a delightful man, always making people laugh. I will always think of him as loving and caring.
Both of them in their nineties for the past two years, I often wondered if Estelle would be able to continue her patient and loving support. Caregivers had to be hired, and they were life savers for Estelle and Nevin. After a fall that broke Estelle's foot, caregivers were needed round the clock. But her positive attitude and happy smile never quit. She is truly a ray of sunshine to all who know her.
Just last week, my friend, Mary Mike and I took Estelle out in a wheelchair for lunch and then we took her shopping. She had not been out in a store for a long, long time and we had a ball as we shopped together.
We told her today that when everyone went home after the funeral, we would still be here and we would continue to do things together. She wants to take a class at the local college, and I can guarantee she will be attending writing events as long as someone will drive her.
Losing a loved one to Alzheimer's is very hard. But losing him again to death is also hard and she will grieve and mourn his death in the months to come. She will go through the same stages that I and many others have after losing a spouse. Mary Mike and I hope to be there to help smooth the way when we can.
|Author of a poetry chapbook and many published poems and short stories, Estelle Rice|