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The Decision

By Trish Hughes Kreis

(Page 1 of 4)

The decision to place Robert in an assisted living facility was not an easy one.   It isn’t easy for anyone but, to be honest, it was not only gut-wrenching but I was pretty hard headed about it.  Denial is a highly regarded trait in my family and I wasn’t about to give it up now. 

Before moving Rob to his Care Facility, Robert lived in a town 90 minutes away from me.  He lived with Judy who is several years older than Rob and also suffers from epilepsy.  They have been together for twenty years or so although Rob actually tells people they have been together for 35 years.   That puts him at, um, age nine when they got together.  It’s quite amusing to watch the listener puzzle through the math once Rob says this but I know how important it is to Rob to think he knows how long he and Judy have been together so I usually let the listener remain puzzled, and eventually, slightly alarmed.

Rob and Judy talked about marriage for many years but both would lose some government assistance if they married.  They are very religious which made the decision for them not to marry all the more disheartening for them.  They purchased rings anyway, lived together, cared for one another, went to church together but, ultimately, never married. 

Rob’s mental ability declined over the years due to the seizures, brain surgeries and head injuries and Judy’s has never been much better.  Despite these obstacles, they took care of their household, walked to the grocery store together, somehow got to doctor appointments and church on their own and managed their medications by themselves.

For many years, this arrangement worked just fine.  There were instances where one or the other would end up in the emergency room because they had a seizure on the way to the store or at home and hurt themselves, but there weren’t any major mishaps. 

Our father lives in that same town and, for years, I had no problem letting Dad help Rob with anything extra that needed to be handled such as finances and occasional transportation needs.  Now, if you actually knew my Dad you would question my sanity for leaving even the slightest bit of responsibility to him.  “Responsible” is not a characteristic attributed to my Dad.  By anyone.  Ever.  I knew this then, I knew this as a child and I still know this.  But, denial came in handy at the time and I was able to concentrate on my own family and career until it became painfully obvious that I needed to step in to help my little brother.

In November 2008, Dad brought Rob and Judy to my house for our annual Thanksgiving dinner.  My other brother came with his family, my husband’s family came with their wives or girlfriends, our girls’ boyfriends were over – it was the usual chaotic family Thanksgiving.  Good food, great fun and lots of family drama.

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