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These were the words of Roxanne, in Living with EOAD – the story of the Rodriguez family when told of her husband’s AD diagnosis at age 53. “We’ve been robbed!” It is what I am hearing from so many of you.

You look around, anger and resentment festering, and you say, “Wait a minute. What is going on here? This isn’t the life I am supposed to be leading. We have been robbed of the life we planned.”

Those of you dealing with EOAD, especially those with young children at home, have lost the partner with whom you expected to share all the joys and challenges of raising those children. You were supposed to embrace each other and smile together through life as you watched the Little League games, participated in the Girl and Boy Scout activities, cried at the sight of your daughter in her first prom dress, cringed in terror at the first driving lesson, rejoiced together at high school graduations. Instead, you find yourself not only alone in the child rearing, household duties, working, caretaking of your spouse, but now you have to deal with the emotional distress AD has caused your children.

Those of you in the retirement years, watch in envy and sadness as friends retain their marital closeness, travel together, enjoy activities with other friends. Excluding you and your spouse from their group because your spouse is no longer able to participate in the activities you once enjoyed together, or your “friends”, “can’t bear to see him/her like that.” All while you lose the companionship of your lifelong lover, and buckle under the crushing responsibilities of caregiving and financial stress.

You wonder in anger, “Where is the life I planned?”

I look at the situation a little differently. I do not feel anger towards AD and the life it has forced me to lead. Sadness at what the disease has done to my husband and partner, and resentment at all the work I have to do, for sure, but not anger. Why no anger?  Because I believe that no one gets out of this life without trials. I don’t feel that we were singled out to have the burden of AD. I feel that it just happened that AD was what we were given. If it wasn’t AD, it would have been something else.

Everyone is sent a difficult situation with which they must deal:

My father bore the burden of his wife (my mom) and his sister dying long, slow deaths of cancer at the same time.

My aunt and uncle bore the burden of their eldest son becoming a quadriplegic from a diving accident at the age of 15. Later on in their lives, my aunt developed AD. Their wealth did not insulate them from life’s blows.

My dear friend found her 31 year-old son on his bedroom floor, dead of a heroin overdose. 14 months later, her husband was killed in a car accident.

It’s just the way life is. For me, that realization takes away the anger. I am still sad, exhausted, and resentful that so much is on my shoulders, but I am not angry at AD. For those of you who are full of anger – my next blog will discuss – How to channel the anger.

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