Good morning and Merry Christmas my sweet Cheer Squad and lovely readers.
Today’s recipient is the first person I thought of when I set out to do the 25 Days of Holiday Cheer this year. Her current situation is something my family has lived through first hand. Lori a mother of three grown children was just getting into the swing of the second half of her life with her husband, Sam when their plans changed dramatically. To understand Lori and Sam, you have to know their whole story.
Sam and Lori started dating when she was a freshman in high school. Sam a few years older than Lori chose BYU for college because it was the only college to offer housing for married couples despite being offered several scholarships from Division 1 schools.They were married as soon as she was eighteen and they moved to Utah.
Sam went to school and played football and Lori got a job at the local grocery store to support him. They went on to have a great first half of life raising three children. So as they began their second half of life as empty nesters they received devastating news; at the age of 56 the love of her life was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. The beauty in this story is how the love story continues.
She has taken care of him day and night. This past two years have been extremely hard on her because at times Sam gets aggressive and has no idea she’s his wife. Sam has progressed fast and can no longer dress himself or go to the bathroom on his own. Despite his rapid progression Lori continues to care for him in their home. Through it all Lori remains patient and loving. Lori continues to work outside the home as she has always done to help with finances.
Her daughter, Katie helped me honor her mom this year. Katie donated money and even purchased gifts during the fundraiser. Katie is a nurse and has seen good and bad care givers. She feels her mother is the role model of how every caregiver should be. Lately though, Katie notices her mother’s exhaustion and it breaks her heart.
All three of Sam and Lori’s children live close and take turns caring for their dad so that Lori can run errands or just have a few hours to regroup. They help cut Sam’s hair, take him out to eat, and just plain love him as much as they possibly can.
Sam and Lori’s love stories is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever witnessed because true love is caring for someone you love through thick and thin, better for worse.
This isn’t the first time that Lori has cared for a loved one. Her son was diagnosed with bladder cancer at 23. Lori was there for him through it all. He is now in remission.
My grandmother had early onset Alzheimer’s. My grandfather took care of her every day for twelve years. He fed her all her meals, kept her home with him as long as he could and only left her side for a few hours a day. I know what it is like to see this kind of love first hand and to watch someone you love lose who they are a little more each day. Heartbreaking is too kind a word.
Lori not only do your kids think you are a hero, but I do, too. You are an amazing woman living the unthinkable day in and day out with courage, strength, and grace. I think of your family every day and you all hold a special place in my heart.
Know that we are praying with you and loving you with each step you take.
God bless your sweet soul,
The Cheer Squad