The Helium-filled Balloon

Drew Berding

Losing a wife to Alzheimer’s

Have you ever watched a helium-filled balloon that is released up into the sky. At first you can see it clearly as it goes away from you. But then as it gets higher and smaller, it becomes harder and harder to see. Eventually it reaches a point where it is just a speck and you can’t even tell what color it is. You say “I think it’s gone” but then you say “I still see it—there it is!” Yet you’re not sure and eventually you concede with disappointment that it has disappeared, never again to be seen.

That’s what it is like when my wife of 46 years has Alzheimer’s Disease. She slowly disappears and fades from view. Sometimes I think I have a glimpse of her but then I concede probably not. Shakespeare said: “Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” True, but it doesn’t ease the desperate pain of separation.

I sometimes feel my wife and I are like Siamese twins joined at the heart. If one of us dies, the other will too.

She gets more distant every day. Sometimes I think she knows who I am but other times she is just blank. I wonder if she hurts; I know I do. Where is the woman I love? Is she still in that frail body?  I think so but I’m not sure. I miss her so.

I have learned from experience that marriage is the most beautiful, fulfilling and sacred thing on earth. It is worth the pain. Men, while you can, enjoy and love your wife! The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:9, “Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life.” Good advice.

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NOTE: Bible references unless otherwise stated are from the NASU (New American Standard Updated) copyright the Lockman Foundation.

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