At 8:00 am on a Saturday morning, Chuck opened his eyes and reached out to his wife. He was surprised to find that she wasn't there, but just assumed that she had gotten up early to get a head start on breakfast. He pulled himself up slowly, pushed back his covers and, wincing a bit from his sore sides, slid out of his bed. He was confused though because everything looked different. In fact, he wasn't even in his room. Where was he? He had never even seen this room before. He started panicking and hyperventilating right as two young ladies in nurse clothes walked in.
“ Who are you? And where am I?” He yelled.
“ We're your caregivers. We're here to help you get dressed and walk you to breakfast.” One of them answered calmly. “You're in an assisted living facility; you've been here for about a week now.”
Why would he need assistance? He was perfectly fine. He had a good paying job, two kids, and a lovely wife. “I don't need help! I can take care of myself perfectly well.” He was angry now. Who were they to decide whether he needed help with his life. How had he been there for a whole week? Just yesterday night he was sitting his wife enjoying a nice game of scrabble. “ Where's my wife?” He asked, very confused.
The ladies seemed distressed with this question, but it seemed as though they had had a lot of practice with answering it. “ Your wife is in Heaven with God. She passed away last month. I'm sorry.”
Now he was really angry, and scared too. It couldn't be true. “My wife is not dead. Just yesterday we were playing scrabble!”
The ladies gave him sympathetic looks. One of them reached out and stroked his shoulder.
“Let's walk to breakfast.”
The next morning, Chuck was startled awake by two little girls running into his room screaming. He assumed it was his daughters' friends, but was annoyed that they were running into his room when he was sleeping, but reminded himself that they were just little kids, “Hi girls!” he said “What are you doing in here? Where are Susan and Holly?” But right after he said this, he realized that he wasn't even in his room. He had no idea where he was. He was really scared now. “Where am I?” he demanded.
Suddenly, a middle aged woman came rushing in “Girls! You can't just run into his room like that!” she seemed a bit uneasy like she wasn't sure of something.
“where am I?” Chuck asked again “and who are you?” The woman smiled sweetly but uneasily, and answered, “You're in an assisted living facility. I'm your daughter, Rose, and these are your grand-daughters, Mary and Layla.” They waved politely.
Chuck waved away her explanation, “You're not my daughter, my daughter is 8 years old. And where is my wife?”
The caretakers walked in just then, and explained, “Chuck, your wife is with God right now. She passed away last month. You have alzheimers disease, and you wake up every morning in this state. This is your family who have come to visit you.”
It took Chuck awhile to calm down and process this information, but with the love and soothing words of his family, he managed to except his reality. Layla brought out a scrabble game, and Chucks face lit up. Chuck loved scrabble, it was one of the few things he never forgot how to do; he still kicked everyone's butt at it. They had also brought some old pictures of Chuck and his family, and some old letters he had written. They had a really fun day.
“I'm not going to remember any of this in the morning.” Chuck said sadly.
“You should write down everything that happened today, date it, and then put it up on your wall where you can see it when you wake up! And do that everyday!” Mary said excitedly.
“And we'll try to come as often as we can.” Rose assured him.
So Chuck continued to write down everything that he did everyday. He still had a big scare almost every morning, but it ended quickly enough.