October 22, 2015: Four years ago today I took my last night flight to London. Actually it was Frankfurt, but it could have been London. Frankfurt is home to one of my favourite international hotels, the Gravenbruch Kempinski, where I usually stayed for a couple of nights on my twice yearly back- and-forth trips to be with Mom. But four years ago I was on my way to my family “home” for good. My plan was to stay with Mom and take care of her for a year and then go somewhere else and restart my life. Things didn’t turn out that way.
I didn’t want to be an Alzheimer’s caregiver. I would’ve much rather continued my life as a businesswoman and entrepreneur residing in an exotic place on the other side of the world. I loved my work, the UAE, the travel, my freedom, and my big fat wonderful life. I had no desire to come back to live in rural Canada and do something I felt imminently unqualified to do. My caregiving skills were nonexistent, I’d never even had children to practice on, and what I knew about dementia in general and Alzheimer’s disease in particular could have fit in a thimble. But my mother was sick, she wasn’t getting the care I felt she needed and deserved, and I was compelled to make the decision I did.
I dried my tears, said “goodbye Dubai,” and got on with it. Four years later many things save one have changed: I’m still getting on with it for all the same reasons. There have been joys and healing, trials and tribulations. The journey hasn’t gotten any easier; in some ways it’s harder than it’s ever been. I’m the kind of person that must do the right thing when I see something wrong.
So I guess it was meant to be.
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