A better man

April 8, 2015

2014-05-21 16.31.10His wife has early-onset Alzheimers. He found an old journal of hers which showed that the symptoms went back to the year 2000 but she’s been in a care facility for only about a year.

“Every morning I go over to the home and get her up,” he said. “Today was a good day: she knew who I was.”

He looked across the table at me.

“Every day she gives me an opportunity to be a better man than I was the day before.”

He paused.

“Sometimes I fall short.”

I’m not certain of much, but I am certain of one thing: he hasn’t, and won’t, fall short.

45 comments on “A better man
  1. Sad, sweet and haunting, Carol. No, he doesn’t fall short. My heart aches for him, whoever he is.

  2. What a sweet man, we all hope for that kind of dedication from a loved one. I think this speaks to the burdens shared by all caregivers–wanting to do the right thing and not always knowing how to find that balance between their own needs and those of a loved one.

  3. Lisha Fink says:

    That is a test of love that few can pass.

  4. pia says:

    Simply beautiful.

  5. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    How sad and sweet at the same time. Alzheimer’s is such a horrible disease.

  6. Sandy says:

    So sweet, and so sad. My father passed away in 2013 from Alzheimer’s. It is such a devastating disease. Much love to the family members who are always there helping and caring for their loved one who is suffering….

  7. Very sweet…these caregivers are incredible people. One day at a time is all any of us can really do.

  8. beth b says:

    I cry when I read this, Carol.

    My mom has been in a nursing home for two years now. She’s has shown signs of alzheimer’s disease since 2007. My dad will be 85 this year … the patience and love and kindness he has shown is beyond words. I can only hope to be half the person he is.

  9. Laura says:

    It’s funny how the best people, those people who never fail to inspire us, are often worried they aren’t doing enough. I hope he has other people in his life who care for him as deeply as he cares for his wife.

  10. Laura Kennedy says:

    Bless his heart.

  11. The words of caregivers everywhere.

  12. Jeanine says:

    Aw. Wow, this was very touching. Very sad and sweet at the same time.

  13. Oh Carol, so poignant. Living in a world of lonely sadness and might have beens is no way for a marriage to end.

  14. I learned so many lessons from the residents of an Alzheimers wing where my mother spent the last three years of her life. My sister and I used to sit in the lounge and socialize with whomever happened along to acknowledge us and Mom, and often felt that small world inside made more sense than what was going on outside. Plenty of love. That’s partly why I wrote the memoir, Entering the Blue Stone–to honor those people and their still-present souls.

  15. He’s going through such a hard time. It’s so sad that he doesn’t think he’s good enough.

  16. I cannot begin to imagine how hard that must be.

  17. Jackie says:

    This was lovely. And, it was lovely of you to memorialize him in this way. 🙂

  18. Memory loss is such a cruel affliction. Bless him, you are right he will never, ever fall short.

  19. Harriet says:

    It seems like we learn something new every day. This could be a good thing .

  20. You know I just finished a piece yesterday and it was about how taking care of my mom seems to have made me more patient, kind and surprisingly more peaceful about my life like at no other time. You see someone so helpless, so naive and you just have to be gentler than you ever thought you could be and how happy it is making me.

  21. Having your loved ones battle Alzheimer’s is like losing them twice. My husband recently lost his grandmother to Alzheimer’s and it was very difficult for everyone she left behind. But, it truly was best for her.

  22. Lisa Froman says:

    Lovely. Just lovely.

  23. He sounds like such a beautiful man.

  24. I think the hardest part is when your partner of many years seems to have forgotten who you are! It takes so much love and courage to walk with them through this illness.

  25. Wow, just Wow! Such love will be rewarded in heaven, he is gathering his jewels for his crown. Thank you for sharing this and revealing an unselfish person.

  26. Layne says:

    Wow, that is real dedication. What a great man!

  27. paula schuck says:

    I understand this more than you know. My mom has ALZ. I cared for her and we moved her to our city and she battled this disease for a few years and then my heart broke when she passed away suddenly. We had some special moments though before she passed away when she let me take care of her.

  28. Ruth Curran says:

    Soberingly beautiful observations Carol and I bet they are dead on….

  29. As a caregiver who looks so hard for the charming, funny and smile in my work, just this sweet poignant minute made my day. Caregiving is harsh, has rewards and makes us better people….eventually. Thanks for this peach of a post !

  30. I love the quote about being a better man each day. So wonderful!!

  31. So beautiful! What a great man! Truly dedicated waiting for the moment for his wife to acknowledge him..

  32. Lana says:

    Amazing man – thank you for sharing this.

  33. Ajay Pai says:

    HI Carol, I stumbled from Write tribe. This piece is highly poignant.

  34. Diane says:

    People can be so inspiring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.