PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Visit With Gertrude

While I was observing Gregory in Physical Therapy, I had a chat with Gertrude who was waiting to use the bicycle petals after Gregory. Turns out she is 100 years old, which was confirmed when I looked at the PT associate bemusedly for confirmation.

Margaret was at least as alert as you and I, well groomed, friendly and chatty. He husband had died some twelve years previously with an added, "I miss him but what can you do when you continue to wake up every morning."

She commented on what a handsome gentleman Gregory is and while empathetic did not feel the need to go on about how young to have Alzheimer's. "So sorry for both of you. It is what it is, I guess," she said warmly.

I told her we have been "partners" for over 39 years (still searching for the best descriptor since I am uncomfortable with "husband" because it implies sex types and roles. We are not husband and wife.)

She lit up and shared that she had her husband for some 75 years. We commiserated how difficult it is loosing the one you love (her's quickly, mine over the last ten years.)

Maybe it is because I came out Gay during the 1950's, and have lived a large part of my life through a time when being Gay was wrong, a sin, looked down on, punished, shunned, minimally - not recognized, etc; that I am still amazed when being Gay and having a life mate is taken as a mute issue.

The love of 39 years is what is recognized. My sacrifices is what is recognized. Our love for each other is what is recognized. My role in making all medical and health and life decisions for Gregory, as his husband - mate - lover - life partner - wife - soul mate - etc, is what is recognized and respected by family, friends, and everyone we have come in contact with at The Lieberman Center.

It was so refreshing and wonderful and life reaffirming to chat with Gertrude.

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