The times they are a changing. That may not be great English but it speaks to what is going on in our lives.
Several of you have asked me recently about Chris’s brother, Carlton, and how he is doing. I have not shared a lot on the blog about him for the past several months primarily because it is just difficult.
As many of you know our sweet Carlton who turns 49 on April 20th has had a really tough couple of years. A diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s has changed his life dramatically. It is a pretty tough thing for us to understand how Carlton can change in such a short time but it has happened and continues to happen.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we moved in with him after Chris’s dad’s death in August 2011 and I found notes like this almost every morning.
When he moved in with Chris’s sister and brother in law he loved having his own suite in the basement. He was happy and loved being part of their family.
He always loved his birthday and we always made a huge deal out of it. This one year we got him an Ohio State Buckeyes watch and you would have thought it was the most expensive watch in the world. He LOVED it.
We were able to have him spend a week with us in Iowa a couple of years in a row and we had such a great time with him. He and I were buddies and he loved doing arts and crafts with me.
But now those days are gone and I must admit I am having a really difficult time with it.
I love that Colleen sends us pictures of him but they make me so very sad. He is basically bedridden now, sleeps most of the time and is losing mobility, body functions and the ability to communicate is getting more and more difficult. Our last visit with him was in March and since then he has declined rapidly.
Saying goodbye to our sweet Carlton is going to be one of the most difficult things I will ever have to do. I am trying to prepare myself but I just can’t.
So many of my readers have been so kind over the years and sent cards and gifts to Carlton and I am so grateful for that. He has brought so much joy to so many over the years and I am so happy that others have had the chance to experience the unconditional love and enthusiasm that Carlton always shared with those he came in contact with.
I want to celebrate his life to the fullest and even though he can not really respond to me in the way that he used to I know that he is still that very special guy that I love deeply. His body is just wearing out but I can see beyond that and know that he loves me in just the same way as he always did.
Hold those you love a little closer today and never forget each opportunity to share your love with them. The times may be a changing for you as well.
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“His body is just wearing out but I can see beyond that and know that he loves me in just the same way as he always did.” And for you to know this must mean the world to Carlton. Peace be with you, Calton and your family. ♥
We love you all and love Carleton too.
This is very sad and I feel for you. By writing about it, you are preparing yourself for the inevitable. We never know how long we have our loved ones so we need to love them as much as possible while we can. That last picture of lighting the candles is so precious. Sending hugs. xo
Unconditional love — hat you gave to Carlton and certainly what you received back. Is there any greater gift than that? Hugging you as you walk through this time. Praying for grace, mercy, comfort, and strength. What a beautiful life Carlton has lived and just think of all of the lives he has touched. My heart and prayers are with you all.
I am so sorry for this, Beth Ann. Sounds like you have a really strong bond that lack of a physical presence will never destroy. I will pray for all of you. And I love that photo of him lighting the candles!
Oh, Beth Ann, your sadness seeps through these words and I wish I could be there to hug you. I am sorry. I continue to pray for Carlton and for each of you. This process is not easy and I don’t think you can ever fully prepare yourself. But I love that you are choosing to remember the joys and saved that sweet sweet note. May peace be yours as you deal with this reality.
Oh, Beth Ann this makes me so very sad. It’s one thing to see a loved one go though this when they are at an advanced age, but it’s entirely another when it’s someone so young. I’m so very sorry. I’m glad that you are looking beyond what Carlton is going through and remembering happier times.
Ash and I went to visit her great-grandma yesterday and she’s bedridden as well and her disease is progressing so quickly. Each time we see her, something else has changed. She did recognize me yesterday and smiled briefly which made me happy. This is hard for an adult to fathom but trying to make my kids come to terms with it proofs to be a lot more challenging. We choose to concentrate on happier times as well and that eases the pain somewhat. xoxo
Oh my friend, your bittersweet and poignant post made tears leak out of my eyes. I am so sad for you and your family as you face the coming loss of this dear soul. Lifting you up in prayers as you prepare for the inevitable. And sending you hugs.
I am sorry. The pictures and story that you’ve shared tell of a beautiful life. My thoughts and prayers are with your whole family. Such an awful disease!
Oh Beth Ann. I’m so sorry. I have to think that he’s been very very happy with his family and friends and now it’s just time for him to move on to the next adventure. As much as you prepare yourself it is still so hard though, for those he leaves behind. Hugs. To you and your husband and his sister and everyone else who loves Carlton. That includes a whole lot of us who never met him in person.
I will be adding Carlton and all of you to our prayer list. It hurts to see any of our loved ones hurt, but I think you are doing an amazing job by remembering that special connection and love you have for each other. Lots of love and hugs!