Our Unplanned Journey

Featured Resident – Frankie Braden
December 1, 2017
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Our Unplanned Journey


My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in February of this year.  A friend suggested that I start a journal at that time, but I wasn’t ready to deal with it yet.  In June another friend suggested that I blog about it, but I wasn’t ready to deal with it yet.  It is now 4:30 a.m. on a December Sunday morning and I realize that I am dealing with it – every day.  As a married couple, we are one and are dealing with it together – a journey we didn’t plan.

In October I attended a women’s conference where they encouraged people to tell their stories because it might just help someone else.  Here is our story:

We met in the summer of 1959.  My husband had just graduated from high school and I had just finished my freshman year.  My father accepted a new job in Nebraska and moved our family from Kansas.  We only lived there 2 years, but it was long enough for my husband and I to meet and fall in love.  I graduated mid-term back in Kansas my senior year and we were married in February 1962.  We’ve been married now for almost 56 years.  We have 2 children, 5 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.

While dating, I remember visiting my husband’s grandmother in a nursing home.  She suffered from “hardening of the arteries”.  I didn’t think much about it except that it was probably something that “old people” got.  I was very young.  Since then, my mother-in-law passed away from Alzheimer’s and a sister-in-law is in the late stages of the disease.  There are questions about whether this disease is hereditary or caused by environmental issues.  On my father’s side of the family, 2 out of 10 siblings had the disease and they both lived in the same state.

My husband retired from a major airline where he worked as a jet engine mechanic and inspector for many years.  He received his training in the United States Air Force where he served for the first 4 years of our marriage.  This work required a lot of technical and detailed knowledge.  He enjoyed the challenges of analyzing a problem, researching solutions and repairing what needed to be fixed.  He also enjoyed the camaraderie with his co-workers.  He would always stand up for the underdog in any kind of disagreement.

After he retired from the airline industry, he accepted a position with Habitat For Humanity as a site supervisor, building homes for the underprivileged.  This job also required many challenges such as coordinating volunteers, scheduling the work, ordering supplies, dealing with weather delays, working with city inspectors, etc., etc.  Again, he enjoyed the camaraderie of the volunteers and new homeowners that he got to know while working on these homes.

Today, our pastor talked about the importance of sharing our story.  To be continued —–