INSPIRING STORY OF THE WEEK
LOST IN PINK
by Janet Rice
Like her mother before her, Janet’s mom has early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In this inspiring story Janet takes us back in time to when her mother is only 50 years old and has early onset Alzeimers disease. Her dad is her devoted caretaker, day after day, night after night, cooking and feeding her, caring for her dailty needs. Obediently, she follows his directions, although mostly with a confused, unfamiliar expression on her face as she stares back at him.
The day comes when his company is presenting him with a gold watch. That day means a great deal to him. So he carefully dresses her in the pink dress she always saved for special occassions and together they take the train to New York City, then walk three blocks to the New York City’s Library. Dad leads her up the steps and through the halls to the Rose Reading Room. He sits his wife at the far side table of a table where there is only one young woman reading and places a newspaper in front of her. Turning her head to look at him, “Now remember”, he whispers, “you must stay here and wait for me. I’ll be back soon.” He looks her right in the eye and holds her chin. “Promise me you will stay here. Don’t move.”
She says nothing and looks at the newspaper. He quickly heads to the exit, running down 5th Ave. to the Park Ave. branch of his bank and takes the express elevator to the conference room on the 41st floor. Stopping to catch his breath, he adjusts his tie and enters the room filled with his immediate supervisors. While his boss gives a heartfelt speech, honoring his 30 years of service to the bank, Dad watches the clock.
None of his co-workers knew of Mom’s illness. After warm handshakes and brief good-byes, he reverses his course and races back to the library.
When Dad gets to the room where he left his wife, the newspaper lies untouched, but she is gone. Frantically, he looks around. The tables are now filled with people. He asks if anyone has seen a woman in a pink dress. Someone says, “She left 10 minutes ago.” His heart is pounding. He cannot think. His wife carried a pink purse, but no identification in it. He runs through the library, out the entrance, and stands at the top of the stairs. He scans the mass of people before him, and looks for a pink dress in a sea of muted blacks, browns and grays. At last he prays, “Oh, God, Oh God. Please, please, please…” He finds her at last, standing in front of a storefront window gazing at the mannequins.
This was the mid 70’s, long before Alzheimer’s support groups existed. Families took care of their own. A proud, independent man who never asked anyone for help, it was many years before Janet’s Dad had the courage to tell any of his children this story. Did they judge him harshly for this slip in judgment? Hardly. Instead, his models of patience, love and fortitude have sustained Janet as she navigates challenges in her own life.
Read Lost in Pink, now published in
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