From the initial goofy and crazy-in-love flush to more serious times, Tony and I were able to discuss together whatever hurdle lay ahead and to meet each challenge head on, hand-in-hand. If the day was wearing and wearying with discord, we generally would thrash things through before bedtime. Sometimes Tony would stomp away first, but would remain awake; he would flip the blankets down as I approached my side of the bed. I would squeeze his shoulder and he would pat me on the hip; and always a “Goodnight” or a “Love You” before settling down. Our lives included many blessings for which we were both appreciative and grateful.
As Alzheimer’s claimed more and more of Tony’s awareness and challenged his adaptability, he knew without reservation that I would be there for him, standing with him, and helping him along the way to the inevitable conclusion of his life. Tony trusted me implicitly – there was never a shadow of a doubt that I would make wise decisions, advocate for him, and stay close. I knew also that, if the tables were turned, Tony would always have done his best for me. It had simply been a twist of fate that “Big Al,” as Tony referred to Alzheimer’s disease, had been one of the cards dealt in the hand for us to play out, the luck of the draw – more bluntly described as a crapshoot.