The last few weeks

by Joel Saperstein, loving husband and caregiver

Editor’s note: Several weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail from Mr. Saperstein.  It was a beautiful testimonial to his late wife who passed away under our care.  You can read their love story and his letter here.  Then, not much later, I received another letter  from him describing the daily caretaking routine with his beloved Marsha as her disease progressed.  He eloquently captures the beauty and heartbreak of caring for a loved one with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

hummingbird soloThe last few weeks of Marsha’s life was a moving, heartbreaking learning experience for me.  Her dementia / Alzheimer’s had taken complete control of her mind and body.  Even so, she searched for beauty everywhere.

I would prop her up onto three pillows.  She would watch with child-like fascination as the sun’s golden ribbons streamed through the window and settled on the bed cover.  She reached out to touch the light.  “It is beautiful,” she would say.  Everything we encountered every day was new and magical to her.  Hummingbirds darting around the feeder brought a smile to her face.  Ants running up and down the fencepost were accepted as just part of life, and shouldn’t be hurt.  Every part of nature was new and wondrous.  It was like discovering life for the very first time.

Her circulation was failing, and she was chilled.  Her hands were cold.  I would take and hold her hands to keep them warm.  She would look directly into my eyes.  I would look into her watery, green eyes.  Her eyes used to glisten below her beautiful red hair.  She would force herself to stroke my face.  “You are beautiful,” she would say.  Then wide-eyed, frightened, she would stare into a void.  “They are coming for me.  They want me to go with them,” she would say.  “Do you want to go with them?” I asked.  “No,” she said.  “Then you don’t have to go,” I assured her.  Satisfied with what I said, she lay back, closed her eyes and was at peace.  Still holding her hands, I stayed with her and let her sleep.

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, caregiving, dementia, end of life, hospice

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2 Comments on “The last few weeks”

  1. David Bayer Says:

    Well written … thanks for sharing … we can all learn from this experience.

  2. Bonnie Emadi Says:

    Beautiful, Joel. I think I really felt Marsha’s peace. Thank you so much for sharing.


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