Most nights during our numerous conversations in bed during the early hours of the morning, Alan was constantly pleading with me not to put him in a Nursing Home, not to leave him and promised to try and be good. So even though, he had Alzheimer’s with all the associated behavioral and bodily changes; on some level he knew that he was not himself. When I look back now; as hard as it was not getting any sleep for night’s on end, these were some of the most precious conversations and memories I have of him. His vulnerability – he had always been the strong one; my protector, the one who had always kept us both safe and happy. Now, I was taking care of everything. If I hadn’t been so physically and mentally exhausted, I’m sure the overwhelming enormity of the situation would have broken me. I tried to read, but books failed me, I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than just getting through each eternal moment. I lay on the bed with hot burning eyes and begged for sleep, which rarely came. For those who know me well, the next analogy is appropriate – I guess it’s like a plant, if you attack it and slash it back to the ground, it will grow stronger, and I’m sure for me, this very basic human emotion of struggling to survive came front and center in my life – I would not give up. My sanctuary was the garden, being out in the air, digging in the soil, and definitely slashing bushes back with a chain saw, with maniacal fervor. Although quite often just with sheer exhaustion, the garden was dead to me, and I to it. I frequently felt like underdone boiled eggs. Perhaps the effects of harboring a deep, fearful secret were so debilitating that autopilot took over the normal humdrum bits of life. I couldn’t change what was happening to him, to us; but I could control the bushes; and yes, even all these years later they have grown even stronger and more healthy. Alan would just stand right behind me and watch. Everyone is different, but for me, there was never any question whatsoever of my putting him into a Nursing Home; I knew the soul who inhabited this body and somehow I would find the strength to care for him. Thankfully, my prayers were answered and I gave him my word I would never leave him, I would always be with him till the end ……….. little did I know then, just what I would have the strength and courage to do. That seemed to calm him down and we fell asleep snuggled up together.