It was four years ago when Jimmy move in to our facility. He was brought by his wife Sarah who can no longer take care of him at home due to the progression of his Alzheimer’s Disease.
Jimmy could no longer recognize Sarah as his wife. He totally forget the past, everything in his life, he’s totally out. From the day he moved in, Sarah was visited him everyday, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., after Jimmy had his dinner. Although there were caregivers who assist Jimmy in the board and care, Sarah prefers to prepare the dinner of his husband, “I want to serve him even in my little own ways,” said Sarah.
Sarah had a lot of stories to tell, including their love story. Both of them were holocaust survivors. They met during the liberation and they settled down in Belgium. They have two children. They migrated in America in 1967 and he became an established businessman. At the age of seventy-five, Jimmy had the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease in the early stage. He was forgetful, disorganized, had difficulty in concentration and confused. At first he was taken care of by Sarah with the help of a caregiver at home. As the disease progressed and the demand of care increased, Jimmy moved in to our facility.
Everyday Sarah was here to see Jimmy. She’d talk with him, tell him stories, and show him pictures, even though she didn’t get any response from Jimmy. Sarah had all the patience in dealing with her husband because of her love. For four long years she continued to server her husband in her little ways and let Jimmy feel loved by Sarah. Until one afternoon, Sarah hugged Jimmy goodbye and to her surprise, Jimmy held her right hand and kissed it. He was staring at Sarah with tears forming in his eyes. Sarah yelled in rejoice. “MY HUSBAND … MY HUSBAND KISSED MY HAND!” Alzheimer‘s forget everything, but who knows in the corner of their mind the memories that are still there. It might come back anytime if something trigger in their mind.
Sarah left the facility happy and hoping that her husband was changing for the better. But happiness was very short. In the middle of the night we called Sarah. Jimmy had a massive heart attack and he did not survive.
Now, Sarah realizes that Jimmy kissing her hand surprisingly was a sign of goodbye. A sign of an everlasting love, even when Jimmy was sick, his love for Sarah was still there. You have to go to their world to understand them, so that they can feel your love, sincerity, and compassion. The mystery lies behind their mind.