I am so sorry that it has taken me all week to send this email, but I wanted you all to know how much my heart is overflowing with gratitude for YouQuest.
My husband Clyde was diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer’s in August of 2016. Not once has he ever complained or asked why me. Instead he gets up every day and fights to remain himself, even though small pieces of him go missing every day.
He has always been filled with joy, and has an incredible sense of humour. I am grateful that Alzheimer’s has not yet robbed him of either. I have always said that I don’t care what reality he lives in, I will gladly live there with him as long as he is happy.
Over these past months, I have watched him lose his spark. He still remained upbeat but there was something missing. I knew he needed something that I could not provide and that was people and experiences that did not involve me. I am so grateful that it was suggested by Terri Wexler that I contact you. YouQuest is literally an answer to many prayers.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous on Tuesday, to leave him where I couldn’t hover and make sure that everything was ok in his world. I worried if he was going to be ok. I worried if it was going to be too much for him. I worried if people were going to make him feel safe and cared for. I worried was he going to have fun or be miserable out of his comfort zone. If there was a thought to worry about, trust me, I worried it.
I dropped Clyde off on Tuesday and everyone was so kind and encouraging to me, that I felt right away he was in the right hands, however, that did not make the next 7 hours go any faster. It was probably the longest 7 hours in recent memory. I picked him up at 4 and I could tell he was exhausted. I could also tell that he had a great day. That spark that had been missing was once again in his eyes. All my worries and doubts disappeared when I saw how happy he was.
We got home and sat at the table to eat supper and he could hardly contain himself as he had so much to tell me. One of the things he said to me was, those people sure treated me well, everyone was so kind and no one criticised me. I literally cried, and even typing this, it makes me cry again. I will never be able to express the gratitude that is in my heart for that statement and all it means. He is a good and kind man, and he has been knocked around by life far too often, he deserves the best and YouQuest gave him that.
I know you have all seen the short video clip of him describing his day, but as the days have gone on and he has processed, some other things have come out:
Clyde: How many times do I get to go over there? Me: Just once a week. Clyde: That’s not enough.
Clyde: We played that game where you throw the ball into the net. Me: Basketball? Clyde: Yes. I wasn’t very good at it but I did get the ball in the net 2 or three times. It was a big deal. Everyone cheered.
Clyde: We walked all over and I am pooped out, but it is a good pooped out.
Clyde: When did you say I was going back there? Me: on Tuesday. Clyde: How many more days is that?
Clyde: When do I see my peeps again? Me: on Tuesday Clyde: is that tomorrow?
Clyde: I walked to lunch with this lady and she was so nice, I had so much fun talking to her. We had those poles so I wouldn’t fall down.
Clyde: there was this guy in my position (meaning he also has Alzheimer’s) that came and talked to me. He was so nice and made me feel welcome.
Clyde: it is so nice to have buddies again.
I knew, even though he never said how lonely he was. However, until he went to YouQuest, I really didn’t know the extent of that loneliness. You can tell by his questions, how much the day meant to him.
As for me, I am so filled with joy and gratitude at seeing him so happy. Like I said earlier, I get emotional and have cried many happy tears this week. All of you are doing such a great thing and I only hope that you all know what an impact you are making. Not just on me and Clyde, but on everyone that has been able to take advantage of this program. It is amazing to me, what a difference one day at YouQuest can make.
Thank you Myrla for answering the questions I had and more importantly answering the questions I didn’t know I had. No one tells you anything, you get the diagnosis and then, you’re left alone to navigate the minefield. I so appreciate your time and knowledge.
Thank you Melissa for your kind and caring interview/assessment with Clyde. He has told me on more than one occasion that he was nervous at first but he was sad to see you leave.
Thank you Cindy for co-founding this program with Myrla. I can’t imagine all the hurdles that you were jumping behind the scenes to make this such a success.
Thank you volunteers for all you do. Without your dedication and care, I know this would not be possible. The world of Alzheimer’s is a dark and scary place, yet your lights shine so bright, one barely notices the darkness.
Thank you to those who work tireless behind the scenes to provide funding as I know there has to be someone who makes this affordable for everyone. Thank you so much! You have given us all a first class program at a price we can afford.
I wish you all a great weekend, and although thank you doesn’t seem to even begin to express my thoughts and feelings, until I invent a new word, it will have to do.
Angela and Clyde