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I got to visit my wife for the holidays

The holidays are again a thing of the past. You may have had relatives over to visit you during the final days of the year, and they may have provided a joyous get-together and a time of fond memories.

I too, celebrated this special time of the year, but my visit was different. I got the chance to visit my wife. She is no longer living here at home. Sadly enough, I had to place her in a memory care facility, because she is a victim of the deplorable disease called Alzheimer's.

I go to her place of residence and visit my dearly beloved once or twice each week. She knows that I sort of belong to her, although she often is not able to call me by name. That doesn't trouble me. I know that she appreciates my coming during these regular times, and we talk.

We don’t have pleasant conversations. Regrettably, that is no longer possible with her. She is often unable to complete an entire sentence and jumps into something else that has no bearing on what she started out to tell me. I don't trouble her about situations like that.

But what really troubles me a great deal is when I sit next to her in the large dining room, and I see all the other residents sitting there as well, many of them half asleep or staring at a blank wall without seeing anything. Even during the recent holidays, none of them had a visitor. They have relatives at home, a spouse and or children, I was told by some of them. And yet, the family has written them off and are no longer interested in the health or circumstances of their loved ones.

My wife and I enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas luncheon at the facility. We could be together and celebrate these special days in our humble way. Afterward, I went home, feeling sad and depressed and feeling sorry for all the others who ate their special meal without any acknowledgment from a family member — no word from wife or husband, none from their children.

What must go through their limited minds? I am sure these people still have feelings and know that they have been ignored and forgotten. What a sadness one can observe in a place where they are housed and taken care of by personnel on a daily basis, sitting there spending their final days in a place with locked doors.

Tony Antonides lives in Central Point.

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