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Julia's Tribute

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Submitted By bhender1992
Words 781
Pages 4
For those of you that don't know me my name is Brittany. I work at The Willows at Citation where I took care of Julia. For the short 3 months and 11 days that I knew Julia. I've learned something that no book could possibly ever teach me. On our Journey together I was constantly being moved and touched in ways that I often cannot describe. To live with Alzheimer's and still laugh, love and find joy is nothing short of amazing. I never got that chance to meet Julia when she was full of life and energy. Instead God blessed me with Julia on May 6th of this year. God had also blessed me with the ability to really connect with Julia. I spent many nights by her bedside, I've spent many hours listening, I've shared many tears with her daughter's and I've experienced many lifelong connections. Julia taught me the importance of living in the moment and finding joy in the small things. No two minutes were alike. Things were constantly changing and it put us on the wildest roller coaster ride imaginable. I must say it took a while and I'm sure I'm speaking for a few others when I say this but I came to realize that in order to survive, you must live in the moment and appreciate each and every good thing that happens, no matter how small. Sometimes you really have to dig deep to find the good in a lousy situation. The interesting thing is that bar is constantly moving. That thing that may have seemed completely insignificant a few months ago, can suddenly become the joy that gets you through each day. That became more apparent to me with each passing day. 2 1/2 months ago, the fact that Julia ate and drank well all in a day was nothing. The last month, when I heard she had a few sips of something I felt like shouting from the rooftop. I learned to cease the moment. One day someone asked me, "How do you feel about Julia not knowing who you are, is it easy caring/communicating for an Alzheimer's patient?" That was a difficult question. I realized that the only way to answer such a difficult question was with a whole story. I did not define Julia by Alzheimer's. I treated Julia for the perfect woman that she was and not the disease that she had. Through my eyes I was blessed to be able to take care of Julia. She still had the potential to inspire me, teach me, love me, amuse me, befriend me, touch me, energize me, open my heart. She brought meaning and purpose into my life. Every day I got to work I always checked on her after receiving report. I always asked her if she was having a good day. She most always answered yes with no recognition on her face. It was at those moments that I stepped outside of the present moment, outside of that reality on purpose because it just felt safer there. Until one night Julia looked at me so serious and asked me if I loved her. It took everything in me to fight the tears back as I assured her that I did love her. She has given me that awesome smile, she has told me that I needed to paint my nails, she has put me in my place, most importantly she trusted me to take care of her sometimes asking me if my coworker knew what they were doing. Those moments and those smiles spoke volumes. It told me stories, it called me her caregiver, her friend, her family and to me that implied recognition. It has been such an incredible gift being a part of Julia's life. She inspired me in ways she was never able to understand. The early morning of August 17th Julia shared my special day with me by celebrating her first day in heaven. In a bittersweet moment with her daughter's by her side Julia found her wings and set off to those gone before her that have been waiting and anticipating her arrival as she made her way to heaven. I took a moment with Julia by myself as I sat by her bedside and held her hand I thanked her for the many blessings she brought into my life and being a blessing as well. It was at that moment I felt a hand touch my shoulder and that was my sweet Julia telling me everything was ok and wishing me a Happy Birthday. At 89, she left a legacy. A sweet soul that will forever be missed.

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