Periodically I will add posts here if the sources provide additioanl informaiton on how to think about and deal with Dementia/ Alzheimer's Disease.


SCROLL DOWN FOR TEXT and BIBLIOGRAPHY from DAI WEBINAR 2/22-23/2017. You can also find this information on my website:

Even though this blog is now dormant (see info below) there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. My guess is that you could spend a lot of time here and maybe learn or experience a thing or two about living with and loving someone with Dementia/Alzheimer's or maybe come away with the feeling that "you are not alone" in YOUR work with the same!

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Happy New Year 2016. With a new year comes new beginnings and sometimes endings. If I am personally progressing and if I am doing a good job in my grieving Gregory's death; if I have been able to learn my lessons in living and loving someone diagnosed with Dementia/ Alzheimer's; if I am to get on with my life ... I need to bring this Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing has been dealing less with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and more with life after Dementia/ Alzheimer's.

Of course, I will always continue to work for and support fair treatment on behalf of people with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and may post here from time to time. Also, there are many wonderful posts here through which you may browse.

With this change, I will continue and reinvigorate my "michael a. horvich writes" blog which deals with grieving Gregory's death, life lessons, personal experiences, observations, memoirs, dreams, and humor in essay and poetry, as well as an attempt now and then at sharing a piece of fiction.

Please follow me there by clicking or click the link located on the right side of this page.

Finally, COMMENTS are always important to me and you can still comment on the posts on this blog! CLICK "Comments" and sign in or use "Anonymous." Leave your name or initials if you wish so I'll know it's you? Check the "Notify Me" box to see my reply to you.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Before or After the Elephants

I am sharing this post from my writer's blog ( - opens in a new window) here on the Alzheimer's blog as it applies as well to Gregory and my journey with Alzheimer's.

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Euphemistically "Memorial Gardens" stands for CEMETERY!

Yesterday I spent a little over an hour at Memorial Gardens, which conveniently happens to be neighbors to the Lieberman Center.

For a while I have been thinking about educating myself about pre-paid end of life arrangements for Gregory and me. I met with Lynn,  who was very nice, well informed, understanding, and helpful.

At one point she asked Chris for help and I think after hearing me talk about planning for me and my partner, he decided to stay in the meeting. Turns out he is Gay, much younger than I, and his first lover passed away a short while ago. We had issues in common to talk about.

Not easy planning for your best friend, life partner's demise let alone your own. I told them I wanted a "no frills" cremation for both of us. Discussing the details was less difficult than I had imagined and only twice the emotional pushed the intellectual out of the way and I got choked up.

No service, no flowers, no catering, no obituary, no web site of remembrance, no coffin. Just a cardboard box. Ashes are delivered in a plain urn ready for scattering. There are two jokes about the scattering of our ashes which Gregory and I tell.

I want my ashes scattered at the circus. I just don't know if it should be before or after the elephants!

Gregory wants his ashes scattered in Lake Michigan since he so loves the water. So a few friends will gather in our bathroom, say a few nice words, and flush the ashes down the toilet. Fastest way to Lake Michigan!

Gregory and I had discussed this many years ago when we first wrote our first wills. It was hard for me to decide "Cremate" or "Bury." I still hadn't decided on the night before we were to visit the lawyer to draw up the wills.

Gregory and I were talking about the pros and cons of each when it dawned on me, "It isn't an issue of  'Do I want to be cremated or buried!' I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" After that it was easy to decide: cremation.

There are a lot of legal issues about dying and how to handle the remains. I have Power of Attorney for Health over Gregory. His nephew Mark and his wife Colleen are next in line to make decisions for Gregory if I pre-decease or if I cannot make decisions for myself they also take over that responsibility for me.

You could say that I trust them with our lives ... and I do ... and I have ... by making them next in line trustees.

Lynn suggested I look into one issue. Usually when a person dies, the Power of Attorney is terminated. I should make sure it states that I retain rights to dispose of Gregory's remains (and M&C for G and/or me!)

It gets a little more complicated. There is insurance for me in case I die while traveling and have to get shipped home. There are provisions for the pre-paid arrangements to transfer to another city if I move. The funeral director has a specific role to play as does the cemetery even thought there is no burial. There are additional fees that go to the state and city for various certificates and registrations. It goes on and on but both Lynn and Chris made it easy to understand.

So while I was dealing with something that could be very difficult, I felt empowered to be able to make decisions about the things I can control. And to have everything paid for in advance.

When Gregory and I leave this life, there will be no tangible evidence of our having been here. No grave, no stone, no tomb, no bench, no niche, no urn. What will remain is the love we were able to share with others, to be carried in their hearts until it is their turn to leave this life to go home.

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