Yesterday I went to my regular volunteer job. As I have mentioned before this program for which I am a volunteer is a social program for people with beginning to moderate Alzheimer’s. My husband, Wayne, did not have Alzheimer’s. Wayne had another neurological disease called multiple systems atrophy type c. Wayne’s disease was something like Parkinson’s but moves much faster. In spite of this I found and find a connection with this volunteer job. In addition to that I think helping others like this and showing compassion may be part of what I am suppose to do in this world.
Yesterday we took the participant on an outing, so it was not an ordinary day. On an ordinary day us volunteers kind of look out for all the participants and are not assigned particular people. This was sort of true yesterday also. However, yesterday we drove down in cars to our destination with usually two participants and two volunteers in each car. Hence we were more responsible for the participants in the car with us.
One of the participants in our car I am pretty sure has Parkinson’s disease. I don’t know if this is in addition to Alzheimer’s, or it this man is the exception to the rule of most participants having Alzheimer’s in our program. Anyhow, it just struck me so much yesterday how much this participant reminded me of Wayne when he struggled against his disease. This man tends to hang to the side and not sit up straight. Wayne did that. He also talks very softly and is hard to understand. Wayne did that. He usually doesn’t use a wheelchair, but since we were on an outing they provided a wheelchair for him part of the time. I was the one doing the pushing. Wayne was in a wheelchair all the time at the end. There were too many similarities yesterday, and it really hit me. It made me feel really sad last night both for this man and for what Wayne went through.
In addition to this I found out that another one of my fellow volunteers used to work with Wayne. She talked about how nice a guy he was. That was good to hear, but it did stir up emotions.