Loving Memories of Jean
It was 1992; my husband and I were expecting our first baby. My husband was trying to start his own HVAC business, and had placed an ad in a local paper. That is how we met Jean.
Jean was a widow; she had lost her husband who was a minor league baseball player some years prior and they had never had any children. This left her well to do and with several buildings and rental property to tend to and take care of. She hired my husband and he began working for her.
As time went by we became close and more like family. Baskets were brought with the birth of all 3 of my girls, and she would tell me “There is nothing a new mother needs more than money in her pocket and a bottle of wine.”
When my husband and I divorced, Jean stayed close. She loved my girls as if they were her own. She made sure they didn’t want or need for anything. Holidays and Birthdays were always made special.
My girls were just shy of all becoming teenagers; Jean was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It began with forgetting where she was or where she parked her car. Eventually my ex-husband had to take her keys for her own safety. Shortly after that the frantic late night calls began, that she couldn’t find her keys. My ex-husband would gently explain, he had them and it was ok he would take her in the morning if she needed to go somewhere. Minutes after they would hang up she would call back in the same panic not remembering she had just talked to him nor the conversation, as if it never took place.
The time had come it was no longer safe for Jean to be at home anymore. Luckily, when she was diagnosed, she had drawn up papers for power of attorney listing my ex-husband to make her decisions. He placed her in the home where he worked maintenance, so he could keep close to her.
We had a few more years with her, and painfully watched her lose the memories that we all held precious. Eventually forgetting how to dress her self and in time how to eat. In the end we had someone from the family with her around the clock, my girls visited almost daily. In the last final days, my daughter was visiting her and a glimpse of her memory came through. She looked at my daughter and said,” You look and act just like your mother!” Something I can hear Jean saying.
It wasn’t long after that we got the phone call, she was gone. She may have lost her memory to the horrible disease of Alzheimer’s, but all the memories she gave my family, and my girls, will be in our hearts forever!
By: Julie Taylor, Admissions Coordinator
Integrity Healthcare of Columbia