Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-05-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Alzheimer's: A Love Story
GUEST COLUMN
by Michael A. Horvich
2018-10-03

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gregory, my husband of over 41 years, was diagnosed with dementia, most likely Alzheimer's, in the 29th year of our relationship. He was 55 years old.

We walked the Dementia/Alzheimer's path together for 12 years. He was not a victim of Alzheimer's, but rather, a hero. I might add that we lived as well as possible with dementia, refusing to accept the diagnosis as a "death sentence." Also, I never referred to it as his diagnosis, but rather, our diagnosis.

In some ways, we were relieved when we received the diagnosis, because now we had an idea of what we were dealing with. At the time, though, we did not really understand the nature of the roller coaster ride we would be on for the next 12 years.

Dementia/Alzheimer's is not just a memory problem. It includes cognitive issues as well as physical, mental, physiological, psychological, social and emotional ones as well . The condition is further complicated by the many ways in which it expresses itself, usually differently for each person affected.

The times were not easy, but we persevered and did a good job. I was able to keep him safe, and to support him by helping him be free of worries, responsibilities and fears. I was able to help him compensate for his abilities while always trying to make sure that the respect and communication which had defined our relationship never faltered.

I made sure that our daily life was full, rich and meaningful. Our life was filled with much laughter as well as many tears; joy, as well as sorrow. And above all, it was filled with love.

I had all of our legal arrangements in order. I held power of attorney over Gregory's healthcare and financial matters. Our wills were in place. Being a same-sex-couple, before marriage was legal in the United States, we also had to have all types of special "permissions" in place.

There were many gifts which we recognized while also dealing with the symptoms of our diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. We were fortunate in that I was retired; we closed Gregory's business and our time was now our own. Our love continued to grow—we were able to travel the world, enjoy our condo and live in a very active Downtown Evanston, Illinois. We entertained, enjoyed our family and friends, and were buoyed up by our pets with their unconditional love. We were able to simplify our life, only keep the most meaningful parts, and continue to be compassionate with each other, ourselves, and those around us.

I was able to write about our experiences and, in doing so, process my understandings and feelings and share them with others. I took care of Gregory at home for more than 10 of his years with dementia. It was not easy, but it was a joy supporting him and the only thing I could rightfully do.

Gregory's medical and physical needs became so great during his last year and a half, that short of turning our home into a fully staffed 24/7 hospital ward, I was not able to provide for them. I was able to find an excellent memory care facility just ten minutes from home, so I could visit him every day.

Gregory's new sense of community and belonging, the safe clean environment, the delicious meals, the medical support, and just the presence of many people around him were all positive attributes of my decision and contributed to his well-being. I hired a day care worker to support his physical, as well as social/emotional, needs since by now Gregory could not do much for himself.

For the most part, he was happy, content and peaceful in his new life. When problems rarely surfaced at the care center, they were cooperatively and easily taken care of. Now and then Gregory would become frustrated or angry. Once in a great while, he would strike out, but that was more out of his frustration than it was due to violence. He did not complain much and was usually kind and compassionate with me, himself and others.

Alzheimer's: A Love Story, a documentary made shortly before Gregory's passing, has been accepted by more than 90 film festivals both in the United States and around the world. We have won over 35 awards, including two from the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival.

The story, which I believe is a beautiful one, gives you an up-close look at our 41-year love relationship and our 12 years living with Alzheimer's, and distills it into a moving 15-minute documentary. Check out my website for more information.

I think you will agree, as you experience the story that love is love and LGBTQ love is an important part of that. Every love relationship deserves the right to be treated with respect.

Gregory died on Oct. 4, 2015. Great love means great grief. I will always grieve the loss of the love of my life, but that love also carries me forward as I continue to live a meaningful life and support others facing similar experiences.

Whether you are the one who supports and/or loves the person diagnosed, or are the one yourself who has received the diagnosis, the way in which dementia progresses and expresses itself over time can be one of the most challenging, painful, frightening, confusing, and frustrating experiences you will ever encounter, but you can succeed in getting through it.

You will not always be at your best, but if done with love, understanding, kindness, and forgiveness, it can also be a time of renewed love, creativity and many other unexpected gifts.

My goal in sharing Gregory's and my story is to let others know, "You are not alone. You can do this. Take care of yourself as well as your loved one. Don't be afraid to ask for help from others."

To follow Michael Horvich, see horvich.com .

Michael holds his BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana, additional degree work at the Hunter College in New York, his MA as an Education Generalist with a concentration in Gifted Education from the National Lewis University in Evanston, and an Advanced Certificate in Education Administration and Supervision, also from the U of I in Urbana.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Historians asking for LGBTQ life experiences 2019-05-22 - In Tell Me About It, author/historians St. Sukie de la Croix and Owen Keehnen asked a variety of individuals 10 specific questions. ...


Gay News

Five reasons the Gilead deal is a steaming pile of Truvada 2019-05-22 - Gilead Sciences, the pharmaceutical that makes Truvada, the only FDA-approved drug for PrEP, is having a great week in the public relations department. ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN Princess, maiden fall in love in new children's book 2019-05-22 - A maiden falls in love with a princess at a multiracial royal court in a delightful new children's book that adds to the ...


Gay News

Legislation to advance equity for LGBTQ older adults advances to Gov. Pritzker 2019-05-21 - SPRINGFIELD - Legislation to advance equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) older adults has passed the Illinois General ...


Gay News

StoryCorps launches project with LGBTQ elders for new YouTube documentary 2019-05-11 - StoryCorps, the groundbreaking effort to document the American story, which has given 500,000 Americans across all 50 states the chance to record conversations ...


Gay News

Support for trans students starts with their names 2019-05-08 - This fall, my former student Stefan came back to visit me. I was excited to hear about the beginning of high school, but ...


Gay News

The religious (lack of) conscious rule 2019-05-08 - It is time for all government officials to start acknowledging "religious conscience" for what it is—a heavy-handed and high-minded euphemism for discrimination. The ...


Gay News

LETTERS to Survivors 2019-04-24 - You are survivors My name is Ashwini Krishnakumar, and I am the youth anti-violence advocate at Center on Halsted. As a ...


Gay News

SAGE Board of Directors Welcomes Two New Members 2019-04-15 - [New York, N.Y.] SAGE, the world's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders, has welcomed Anthony Emeka Harbour ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN Passover Questions for LGBTQ Families 2019-04-13 - Passover begins the evening of April 19, and although I'm somewhat casual in my observance, I love that the holiday, which commemorates Jewish ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.