It’s Not A Marathon

Alzheimers can last from 2 to 20 years from the date of diagnosis. There is no way to know when the journey will end – it can feel like a marathon where someone keeps moving the finish line further and further away. Thankfully, my husband is no longer aware of how many miles he’s traveled or of the passage of time. I however, have experienced the fatigue and exhaustion that comes with running a seemingly endless contest of endurance as his caregiver.

…and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us…
Hebrews 12:1

I run and run and run, and believe me, I am tired, but Glen needs me and so do my children, grandchildren and friends! I know that if I am going to be a good caregiver, I have to take care of myself while I care for them; so I pace myself and take the time to clear my head and catch my breath. I pray, exercise, eat right, nurture friendships, read, take naps, play with my dog – whatever refreshes me. I fight negativity with love and fight depression with humor and faith, but most of all I count my many blessings.

I am not alone.

I am one of 15 million caregivers in the United States, all traveling the same course and dealing with the same obstacles and challenges while friends and familiy stand and cheer from the sidelines. Although the moral support of others is greatly needed and appreicated, only a fellow caregiver can truly understand the hardships and sacrifices of the journey. Regularly connecting with other caregivers gives me the essential ‘power boost’ that I need to get through each new mile.

I realize now that it’s not a marathon – it’s a relay race.

Although I run as hard as I can to be the best I can be for myself and for my loved ones, there are times when I need to rest. I am thankful that God has blessed me with a great family, wonderful friends and caring health professionals who I can pass the baton to when needed.

In the early stage of our race, a friend who I refer to as ‘the golf angel’ took Glen golfing almost every day, giving me a few hours to run errands and do what I needed to do. In the middle stage, when round-the-clock in-home care became neccessary, our children, grandchildren, nephew and friends all took turns in teams of two to cover for me. Now in the late stage, our family joined a memory community that provides a village of care, not only for Glen’s needs, but for my needs as well.

Instead of focusing on the ever-elusive finish line, I put my faith in God’s divine timing and perfect purposes. Someday when this journey will end, I’ll be able to proudly say:

I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
2 Tim 2:7

Kim

8 Comments

  1. Thank you Kim for these verses and words of encouragement. My husband Scott has early onset a diagnosed at 55. You were kind to send a donation to our support group in Chicago. Thank you. Donna lehrer

  2. Sending you blessings and love, Kim. Thank you for your story!

  3. chris.meier@macys.com says:

    Kim – My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You are an incredibly strong woman, whose faith will serve you well. Take care of yourself, you are doing important work.

  4. Kim, you are in our prayers, as well as your family, and of course Glen. We can only imagine the added pressures of being the care giver to one so well known and so well loved. The observations of just how you handle a loved one with Alzheimer’s is most often scrutinized with ignorance and criticism void of real compassion for family.

    Your example and efforts have and will continue to stand tall, granting hope, direction, wisdom and comfort to many. I applaud you, and lift you before our Heavenly Father, knowing He understands your every need, and has the Power to Grant you the precise provision for each need at the right time.

    Praise God you have been gifted with a loving family and friends to support you. I know that your real quantity of quality friends is not near what some might imagine. Trusting God to keep a hedge of protection, round about you and your family. Granting that unsurpassing PEACE beyond everything we might imagine to sustain you safely to the finish line.

  5. Pale Thomas says:

    I think of Glen often, Kim. I can only imagine the daily struggle.

  6. God put you and Glen on my heart and mind today,Kim.As a 20 year old guitarist,I was working for Larry McNeely.( Larry had replaced John Hartford on Glen’s GoodTime Hour TV program).Perhaps you will recall my call to Glen back in the 90’s when your family was living in Arizona, I called Glen about selling one of my guitars to him.(A guitar I bought from a musician who told me Glen gave this guitar to him) This guitar was one of two Glen Campbell signature Ovation guitars that the Ovation company had given to Glen.Well….long story short,Glen told me he had always wondered what had happened to this guitar as he never gave this guitar to anyone.So….I shipped that guitar to Glen as I learned it had always been his and i was simply caring for it for several years. Hebrews 12:1 and 2 Timothy 2:7 are great reminders and God’s Word is always such an amazing encouragement. ~Blessings to you,Kim. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” We have God’s promises and God is faithful! Ed

  7. Just a great big hug and thank you!

  8. Amy McAllistet says:

    Dear Glen, Kim and Family.
    I am daughter number 5 out of 8 children. I worked in the late stages of Alzheimer’s unit for three years. It was the hardest job I ever loved!
    The blessings of meeting the people and families of whom I cared prepared me in somewAys to help me understand what my Dear Mother is experiences.
    She was diagnosed 2 years ago. She has her early years and she calls us by her siblings names. She is in. Regular nursing home not a memory care unit so far.
    There has to be so much more education for families in so many different facets.
    Mine would be to have my family understand where she is at other than say I’m so and so don’t you remember me?
    Thank you for allowing us to hear you and the love of your life’s story.
    Amen
    Amy from Iowa

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