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Sharon Kirk

I started writing this blog as a way to express the myriad feelings (good, bad, and ugly) that came up as Robert’s dementia progressed. This disease has made me question my place in the world, my marriage, and my way of being and interacting with the people I love. I’m not a writer by training, but I hope these sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always heartfelt stories will speak to you.

The names of my children have been changed in these stories to give them the privacy to process their father’s disease in their own time and on their own terms. While we share the physical experience of his decline, our relationships with Robert are our own. Each of them is unique. (Of course, if you happen to know us, personally, you’ll make quick work of my pseudonyms.)

If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, may you find a bit of grace in your days. If you have a story to tell, please tell it. It is critical that our voices be heard. Dementia is devastating to families, and it is a burden that cannot easily be laid down. By 2030 it is estimated that 9 million people in the US will have dementia. By 2050 that number will grow to 12 million (PRB.org). Let’s end it.

Finally, a better home for my husband

By the time I toured Gardenia Place, I had already explored two board and care homes that wouldn’t work for Robert. Skeptical of finding a memory care placement that wouldn’t…

Searching for a better home for my husband

Jackson flew back to Chicago after a five-day trip home. Robert didn’t understand why his son wasn’t around anymore. I visited Robert at Daylight Senior Living and Memory Care every…

When my husband’s care home took a header

Our son, Jackson, was visiting from Chicago when I began to see that resident care at Daylight Senior Living and Memory Care was declining. Sometimes we must experience a situation…

This isn’t actually a date, is it?

Will kept turning up.

After our first meeting for breakfast , we made plans to attend a local, outdoor music festival. The festival was free and didn’t require a tremendous…

Diddling around the edges of online dating

I folded myself into the cradle of my gray-blue recliner with my laptop resting on a pillow on my thighs. I developed a ritual. Open the curtains, open the shades,…

Putting myself out there

I understood why my daughter staged an intervention. Maddie encouraged me to start dating even though her father, my husband, was living in a memory care facility. She came to…

I don’t want to be alone. Now what?

Dementia is a vicious disease. Robert’s decline is irreversible. All outcomes are terminal. He may linger for years, imprisoned by his illness. This is now the backdrop to my marriage….

Reflections on being human: Part 2

Do we matter when we lose our minds? 

I touched on this question in part 1 of this series but didn’t answer it for myself. Instead, I focused on observed…

An experiment vacationing solo

The year after my trip to Alaska sped by. I continued therapy, working through the torrent of emotions, thwarted life plans, and questions of my own identity that surfaced as…

Sort of alone in Alaska

When I placed Robert in a care home and retired , I found myself unmoored. I wondered what I was supposed to do next and more fundamentally, I wondered who…

When I decided I had to retire

I decided to retire two months after I placed Robert at Daylight Senior Living and Memory Care, although saying “I decided” might be imbuing my choice with too much rationale….

The genetics of FTD. Do you want to know?

When Robert was first diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in 2017, I did what most people do when faced with a shocking, terminal diagnosis. I jumped into research to try…