A Love That Grew
A story of lifelong love strengthened by the dementia journey.
This article was written by a guest contributor, and the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author.
My husband I have been married for 54 years. We have faced many challenges in that time that have put our love to the test, but it was those challenges that allowed us to grow in love. When Don was diagnosed with dementia 10 years ago, it was another challenge that has grown a deeper and lasting love. That love has given us the strength to face the daily challenges of dementia.
My name is Maggie. I am 78 years old, and I live in Fredericton. My husband, Don, is living with dementia.
Don and I met in Toronto in March of 1967. My close friend, Gretta, received a call from a young man who said he was an encyclopedia salesperson. Gretta told him we weren’t interested, but he thought he could come over to “practice” his sales pitch on us girls and bring along his roommates. One of them was Don.
After a month of dating, we both knew we had met the person we wanted to spend our lives with. It was love at first sight. We were married on Remembrance Day in 1967.
"Our love is deeper now than it was when we walked down that aisle 54 years ago."
– Maggie Porter-Clarke
Before Don was diagnosed, he was a branch manager for Jamesbury Canada. His job took us all over the country, from Toronto, to Moncton, to Halifax, to Prince George. My career led me to work as an executive assistant in three different universities. In 1998, Don decided to start his own product flow sales company that brought us back to Fredericton and closer to our families.
When Don was diagnosed with dementia in 2011 at 67 years old, suddenly our retirement plans of travelling and connecting with family and friends came to a complete stop. Not knowing much about the disease, we took it one day at a time and tried not to worry about what we would be facing down the road. We have had to adjust to many life changes during this phase of our lives together, but our love continues to grow as we adjust to this new life as a couple.
Although it has been a 10-year journey, Don is still able to care for his personal needs. He sleeps a lot, but when he’s awake and up we enjoy each other’s company. He enjoys watching TV and playing games on his laptop. During Don’s last doctor’s appointment, the geriatrician indicted that not much has progressed in the past couple of years and told me that my loving care for him is the sole reason.
While the future is uncertain, and I’m not sure how Don’s disease will continue to progress, our love is deeper now than it was when we walked down that aisle 54 years ago. I guess the true test has been this Alzheimer’s journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maggie Porter-Clarke spent her career as an executive assistant at three different universities. She and her husband, Don, travelled the country for his career, eventually settling in New Brunswick. For the past 10 years, she has continued to love and support Don as he lives with dementia.
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