J: I've heard it said that if you asked everyone you know to put their troubles in a pile along with yours and everyone got to choose new troubles from the pile, you would all decide to keep the ones you have. The longer I live and the more I see the more I believe this.
Yes, it stinks that both of our parents have Alzheimer's disease and can't live the life they planned to live. Yes, sometimes I get jealous that my friends can do things with their parents and their parents can enjoy watching their grandkids grow up and participate with them in meaningful ways. Yes, sometime I wish that I could ask our mom or dad questions about how to handle a parenting situation. But . . . what AD has given us far outweighs what it has taken away.
Because of AD, we, as a family, are more compassionate people. We acknowledge the job we have is huge, but we all take a part in it. The "tag teaming" that goes on to make sure that one person is never over burdened is nearly seamless. The seven boys ranging in age from 14-25 who live on or frequent the Parkway have learned to be caregivers. They are genuine in their love for their grandparents and go out of their way to include G-Pa (as they call our dad) in as many outings as they can. There's good natured snickers about the crazy things both of our parent say and do, but the respect the boys have for their grandparents is absolute. I guarantee that we would not be seeing this type of team work in our family or maturity in our boys if it wasn't for AD.
Additionally, the relationship amongst my brother and sisters has not always been a sunny one. We have had months, even years, where we didn't speak to one another. And, guess what? AD changed all that. We are functioning as a team. Because AD demands it.
So I'm looking at that pile of troubles and I'm picking up our AD and going home with it.