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founding

Beautifully written essay that really impacted me. My sister was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She was so sharp and independent previously, we missed it's progression during COVID until her son visited her and found her living in filth and neglect. We just moved her to a residential care facility in Texas that is close to my brother and his family where she is receiving the help she needs. She's also visited regularly by my brother and his many small grandchildren, which she loves and seems to be the thing that awakens her.

Because she lived so independently for years and was isolated by distance and COVID, we didn't notice the changes in her gradually. Finally seeing her was like being hit by a sledgehammer. I hate and fear Alzheimer's. It's wrestling our beautiful, smart, and always caring sister away from us way too quickly. She stayed with my wife and I for only a few weeks while we were arranging for her care facility. It was exhausting - physically and emotionally. Caregivers who provide daily support to someone with Alzheimer's are heroes.

Thank you for sharing your story and best wishes to you and your wife.

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Beautiful, thank you

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Indescribably touching. A profound love story that turns tragedy into a lesson of acceptance for the "what is". We can all benefit from this lesson. Thank you.

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Just beautiful. Thank you, Michael.

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Thank you for your poignant essay and for your sensitive comments below.

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Beautifully exquisite story of your love. Prayers for both of you and your family.❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻

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Respectfully, I think professional writers should be excluded from a contest like this, especially professional writers who have published a book on the same subject as their essay. It's unseemly.

Also, the blurb reads, "...I nearly gave in to despair. Until I found the one thing that awakened her." The essay, however, glosses over the despair and does not tell us what "awakened" her.

I am sorry for this man's loss. AD can be horrendous. In 1976 my grandfather committed suicide, several years into my grandmother's worsening disease. His wife had been his emotional anchor, and he was at sea. My mother, raised as an Orthodox Jew, came home and smeared all her pots and pans with bacon. She was furious at God and was giving Him the middle finger.

How will I respond if God allows me to go through a similar tribulation? I do not know. The Lord gives; the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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You chose well! Thank you. We just buried our Mother today. She died of Alzheimer’s disease.

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That is beautiful, Mr. Tobin. Thank you for sharing your heart, soul, and love for your Deborah.

I see people in the comments who don't realize this is not an essay about Alzheimer's or what it is to be a caretaker for someone with Alzheimer's. It is an essay about love and presence.

I was a hospice volunteer for a couple years, and all my patients had Alzheimer's. I was lucky to find a key that drew out each of them for a few moments at a time. One lady was totally unresponsive until I came in with my dog. Daisy would go up to her, and suddenly there was a spark. She would pet Daisy, calling her "Luke" after her own dog from her youth, and begin talking about her family. Her son told me Daisy looked like Luke, and that her stories were true ones. She couldn't sustain more than a few minutes, but she was there.

My point is that I wasn't quite sure what I was going to find when these patients were assigned to me to visit. What I found was beautiful people who loved animals, and mountains, and music, and their children, even if they could only come out for a moment. But that moment of presence was real.

I have been a caretaker, and it is a relentless and unforgiving job, for sure, no matter how much we love, but I know that is not what this essay is about.

Blessings to you and your beautiful Deborah. I wish you many present moments.

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Thank you for your beautiful essay and testiment to Deborah. You had me crying. Maybe we can all take something from the idea of being in the present. I know that is all that Deborah has, and in a way that is all any of us are guarenteed.

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It seems like most readers take the story as being about dementia, but I listen to a story like this and it sounds unrealistic. The idea that a young man and a woman could just encounter each other and make some kind of connection is completely outside my life experience. If I were the guy in the anecdote about how they met, the moment someone made eye contact with me, I’d be thinking about how to handle the eventual harassment complaint, who my witnesses would be for the legal case, how I’d handle the logistics of the upcoming legal battle, etc.

And these couples that stay together for decades on end. I know so many intelligent young professionals who would never even consider a long-term relationship, a fair number who are already divorced, and most of the ones with actual partners I think probably should be divorced. Romantic relationships, in my experience, are not available for young professionals in cosmopolitan areas; this sort of life is for extreme social conservatives who live in ethnically homogenous communities and are quasi-forced to get married by their religions. The apps don’t help the situation, but it was true well before apps were invented.

I’m a mere 38, but I gave up on the possibility of a life trajectory like the one this author describes decades ago.

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founding

John hi, I can promise you that as long as you believe that the one who makes eye contact with you will be your potential court case, then you're correct: you'll never find the right person. You haven't given up a life trajectory like mine, you've given up on the possibility of love and connection. Not a good scenario for a happy life. You might consider dismantling your well-constructed fortress and consider some more life affirming options.

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I understand your point, but I find it naively optimistic. I have indeed given up on the possibility of love and connection, and the main thing I wish is that I hadn't entertained that possibility in the first place, given what it cost me. Love is optional. Living is not.

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BEAUTIFUL Mr. Tobin. To those that chose his story as winner: while I can't see any of your other choices, appears you chose well. I also enjoyed teenage winner's story when I read it earlier this year. Wishing all at The Free Press health, laughter and personally measured success in 2024.

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Beautiful- love is a powerful force

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Breathtakingly poignant and beautiful. Thank you.

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Beautiful story. I have Alzheimer's too, but it has forthnately been progressing slowly. I walk a lot. So far, I don't get lost. Alzheimer's is so isolating. Only my husband of 59 years knows. I am so lucky to have him, as Deborah was to have you.

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Beautiful

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