Happy New Year. With a new year comes new beginnings and sometimes endings. Let me begin this lengthy post with its purpose and then please read on: If I am personally progressing and appropriately 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 the Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing no longer is dealing with Alzheimer's but rather life for the living after Alzheimer's.
I have been writing the "michael a horvich cares about alzheimer's" blog since June 30, 2005 with 1431 posts and over 74,300 hits. It has been very gratifying to me that friends, family, and virtual acquaintances (some of whom have become on-line friends) have been reading my writing.
I stared the blog for several reasons: 1) Personal processing and growth, 2) Sharing with family and friends, 3) Supporting others dealing with similar situations, and 4) I am a writer ... you know :-)
First and foremost, it was a way for me to process, understand, cope etc with the changes that Gregory was going through due to his Dementia/ Alzheimer's as well as the changes that our long time, intimate relationship was enduring. When I could no longer "talk about things" with him, I turned to my computer to write about my experiences and to process what we were going through.
At the time the blog began, Gregory and I had been in our same sex committed relationship for 35 years. This year, in fact on January 10th, we will be celebrating our 41st anniversary.
I still say "we" but in reality, this year I will be celebrating it for both of us. I know that since you have been following the blog, you know that Gregory died approximately three months ago on October 4th from complications due to Dementia/ Alzheimer's.
The second reason for the blog was to keep family and friends up to date on the "progress" of our life and the changes that were taking place. It was to help them cope with the changes (as well as to help me process.) It saved me the burden of having to tell and retell the "stories" every time I spoke to someone who asked, "How is Gregory doing?" It helped set them up to understand what they should expect and how to interact with Gregory when we all spent time together.
The third reason is that I wanted to share our experiences with others who might be going through similar ones in the hopes that my lessons could help them cope. It was also to let them know that they were not alone in what with they were dealing. My writing was, on purpose: open, honest, and at times raw ... but also filled with love and hope, and I believe it was positive and up-lifting.
In my research I discovered, in particular, that there was nothing out there to support same sex couples who were going through what I was going through. There was a lot on Alzheimer's and related diseases in general but most of the memoirs and self-help publications dealt with children helping parents or with older heterosexual couples helping their spouses. It was different for Gregory and I. We were Gay and young. He was diagnosed when he was 55 years old.
The nature of a same sex couple dealing with Dementia/ Alzheimer's presents different hurdles to jump over if only because until recently these couples did not benefit from the legality of their relationship. The decisions and care it took to make their lives as comfortable and "normal" as possible were different than straight couples in dealing with hospitals, medical professionals, insurance companies, care facilities, etc. In some cases it was different from the unfortunate discrimination by family, friends, religious communities, and neighorhoods.
Finally, being a writer and poet, putting my writing out there on the internet, in the form of a blog, was pushing me to keep up with my writing, to establish an audience for my writing, to establish an internet google search presence, and in essence forcing me to take the risk of letting my writing be seen (and judged) by others.
It has been quite an experience and as I said earlier in this post, it has been gratifying to have so many people reading me but I am also amazed at how prolific I have been, averaging close to 250 posts every 365 days!
So finally I come to the point of this post. If I am personally progressing and appropriately 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 the Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing no longer is dealing with Alzheimer's but rather life for the living after Alzheimer's.
My writing has become about the process of letting go, dealing with death, looking at re-owning my future, being brave enough to wake up each morning and to face life as a widow(er,) by myself, alone, and finally trying to decide how I want to spend the years left to me. I need to work at figuring out what good I want to leave behind, what new adventures I want to forge for myself, and how I want to spend my time.
I may post here now and again, but for the most part I invite you to join me at my writer's blog for "the further adventures of michael a horvich writes." Be sure to visit and to save this link so you can easily get to:
Happy New Year. May your life be filled with love, health, financial stability, and as much happiness as possible!