Jan's Story~What would you want?

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

So I was watching the news this morning and saw this guy do an interview about his wife getting Alzheimers... Here's the link


The gist, she got early onset Alzheimers and was put into an assissted living home. After some time his MIL told him to move on with his life and he has found a woman to be with who comes with him while he visits his wife. They view eachother as co-caregivers to the wife and a "family of 3." He said he had found a woman who understands that he still loves his wife and her care comes first. He wrote this book to get ppl to talk about what they would want to happen in their lives if their spouse gets a disease, etc.

So what would you want? I think that how this guy is working it, standing by his wife and caring for her while maintaining a relationship with someone else is admirable...since she has an illness that will not get better, I can understand the need to move on in a sense. It is nice that he hasn't dropped her all together!

However, if the situation was like a long term coma...I would be very upset if my husband moved on, even if he visited me every day, because what would happen if I woke up? Where would I go live then? If I was a vegetable and had no chance of recovery, aside from totally preferring death in said situation, then I could understand him moving on if that were the case...but not some unexplainable, trauma induced coma. Just my thoughts...


Krista - posted on 06/22/2010




I don't know if I agree with him taking the other woman with her when he visits his wife -- we still don't know precisely how much cognitive function that late-stage Alzheimer's patients may have. There may be moments of lucidity, and it might be hurtful for her to see him with another woman.

But I can certainly sympathize with him needing companionship.

My grandmother has had Alzheimer's for the last 12 years. She no longer speaks, or looks at anybody, or recognizes anybody. My grandfather was devoted to her care from day 1 -- visiting her twice a day, and hiring round-the-clock caregivers for the rest of the time (even though she was in a nursing home, that wasn't good enough -- he wanted her to have personal care). His entire life was consumed by making sure that she was comfortable, that she was being intellectually stimulated in order to delay her deterioration, that she was receiving the most up-to-date treatments. He'd sit at her bedside, and sometimes he would cry.

He had moved out of their home when she went into a nursing home, because of his deafness. So he moved into a seniors' apartment complex with attendants and caregivers available if needed.

Three years ago, he met a woman who lived in the same apartment complex. They became friends. And then they became more. She was an escape for him. When talking to his daughters, the talk was always about Nanny. When talking to his friends, they always asked about Margaret. With this new woman, he could just escape for awhile -- he could be himself again, and not just Alex the caregiver of his Alzheimer's-riddled wife. He did not introduce us to her, as he wanted to keep that part of his life separate. But we understood. And we were not angry. He was not neglecting Nanny in any way, shape or form. And she knew no differently.

We only got to meet this other woman at my grandfather's funeral last year. Nanny outlived him. He got a bad leg infection and died very quickly. I thanked her for giving my grandfather some happiness in his last years.

Some would have judged him. Some probably DID judge him. But he did continue to love, honour and cherish my grandmother right up until the day he died. So how can I judge him for doing what he had to do to feel like a human being again? How can I judge him for grasping onto whatever happiness he could find in what had become a very bleak life? How can I judge him for loving?

I can't.

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

[deleted account]

I'm sorry Krista, LaCi was the one who gave us more information about the woman's mental status, my apologies I got you two mixed up...

I agree w/you Sharon, they are all lucky ppl!

Sharon - posted on 06/22/2010




In a way his wife is dead.

The woman he loved, the personality is gone, buried. No one is really sure what an alzheimers patient "thinks" or "remembers" exactly.

He is responsible for this human being, she used to be his wife, a sort of living death.

I'm not sure I could be so generous as to be the second wife while he cared for the first, even though in all ways she was no longer his wife except that her body still lived & breathed with (possibly) momentary recollections.

He found very generous woman indeed. What lucky people.

Long term coma - I don't see it. The person is still there. Locked inside their head, unable to wake up. The possibility of coming to is always there. And on top of recovering from a brain injury they have a broken heart? On the other hand, I was meant to share my life with someone .. I would hope I could simply find a good friend to share it all with. I dunno, its very sad no matter what.

Krista - posted on 06/22/2010




Erin, I have no idea as to that woman's mental status. I can only speak of my own grandmother's mental status. And my grandfather only started seeing someone long after my grandmother didn't recognize him, or her kids, or anybody else anymore.

Would I do the same if (fate forbid) that happened to Keith? I honestly have no idea. I don't think we really CAN know what we would do in such a situation. All I do know is that if someone IS in that situation, as long as they are taking care of their spouse, I can't judge what they do to keep the demons away at night.

[deleted account]

I don't think it's too selfish to ask them to sit by you if you went through something horribly traumatic and were in a coma...if I was in a coma for a few yrs :( Gawd forbid! I could understand if he had meaningless sex with someone, I mean how could you hold that against someone? But if you went up and got into a relationship where you were waiting to cut the cord to go get married, then FU!

If I die I have already instructed my husband he is free to do as he wishes I just ask that he lives for our boys and looks out for their best interest. I'm dead for gosh sakes...I really don't care if you move on AFTER i have died!

In the clips they showed on the news about this threesome the wife seems to really like the g/f. She gets all excited when she comes by and I don't think it is soo awful that he brings her there. I kinda feel like it would be more awful (for the g/f) if he left her out of it and it was like his "secret" life or something...how could you be in a relationship w/someone not keeping you in the loop? And since Krista was soo nice to fill us in more about her mental status...I again don't hold any grudges against him and would only hope if put in the same situation my husband is lucky enough to find someone like that man has!

Rosie - posted on 06/22/2010




i feel the same way as krista. i'm not too keen on him bringing her around his wife, but i feel it's only reasonable for him to need some companionship as well.

i feel the same way about the coma as you do erin. i'd want him to sit there and wait for me to come back. how selfish am i? sigh.

Jess - posted on 06/22/2010




Well I guess I'm pretty selfish because I would haunt my partner from the after life if he did this !

I can't even say that I would want him to marry after my death..... at least not while my daughter was still at home with him. Its just my preference, I have no idea why but thats just what I feel most comfortable with.

Shelley - posted on 06/22/2010




i can't really say untill i'm in that situation, but when i got married i promised to love and to hold in sickness and in health so i hope i would keep my promise.

LaCi - posted on 06/22/2010




I watched this on sunday morning. So sad.

She doesn't remember him at all, she speaks of him in third person. He was interviewing her and she was talking about her husband, never once realizing she was talking to her husband just saying she never sees him anymore.

I'm all for what he has done. Taking care of his wife and moving on, with a woman who sort of understand what he's going through, she's a widow. I'm sure they find a lot of comfort in each other, not only because they love each other and have that relationship, but because they know each others pain.

*Lisa* - posted on 06/22/2010




Tricky!! I remember watching a Gray's Anatomy episode where a guy woke up from a coma after 10 years or so. His kids had grown up and his wife had remarried. It was terribly sad!! I think it would be such a huge ordeal to wake up after so long that you would really need your husband there to help you get through it. If you woke up and discovered he had moved on, I think the shock might send you back in to a coma.
As for the alzheimer's couple, I kind of like that he has found a new lady to help him cope with the situation but is still caring for his wife primarily. I think it's sweet.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms