In celebration of National Care Givers Month, we’ll be sharing some caregiver stories that express the wide range of thoughts and emotions, some happy and some sad, that can come with being a caretaker. Sometimes being a caretaker can be an extremely challenging and thankless job, but other times, it can also be extremely rewarding and teach us life lessons that we would never have otherwise learned. But mostly, these people are sharing their stories, caregivers and care receivers alike, so that others like them can know that they’re not alone.
Today’s story comes from Caregiver.org and is told by Michaele O’Leary-Reiff
“Hello, I must be going…”
“Hello, I must be going …” read the note addressed to me and taped to the door of Allan Reiff’s office in the Philosophy/Humanities Department at our local community college. The year was 1983, and little did I know then, the dark truth hidden in those seemingly light-hearted words; the man I would eventually marry would be taken from me all too soon by the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.
We had met the year before. I had returned to school to get my license as a registered nurse. I needed some electives so enrolled in Allan’s philosophy class, which had been highly recommended. On the first day I was riveted to his words, when he said the world would be a more peaceful and equitable place if governments were run by Romanian gypsies and ballet dancers rather than politicians and dictators. Soon we were talking after class, meeting for coffee, and having long conversations about movies, books, politics, our children, and the meaning of life.
Ours was a mid-life relationship, both of us having been previously married. Between us we had six children, his two and my four. It was an exciting time for us. In 1988, we decided to […]