Our family took a walk

Last year, to support my father-in-law who has early onset vascular dementia, Christopher and I decided to do the Walk to End Alzheimer’s here in Memphis. We loved that his parents were able to join us and that some of our precious friends who also know and love his parents were able to walk with us. That support has meant the world to us. His parents also traveled to the Dallas area last year in order to do the walk with their other son & daughter-in-law who have been part of the walk for several years. In an effort to make it easier on his parents this year, Christopher and I told them that if they were planning to go to Dallas again, we’d join them there so they wouldn’t have to worry about two trips so close together (trips are difficult for my father-in-law). So that’s what this weekend was all about.

family2Our family at the Walk this year: Jerzee (Michael & Katy’s dog), Katy, Michael, me, Christopher, Marty, and Tony!

I’ll be honest with you guys, this weekend was one of very mixed emotions. Christopher and I arrived a little after midnight on Friday night (well, Saturday morning technically) and were struck with several different things all at once. None of which were easy. But one huge thing was seeing how much my father-in-law had declined since the last time we saw him. I found myself unable to sleep, so I spent the night in prayer instead. But His mercies are new every morning, my friends. Difficult as parts of this weekend were, there were some wonderful highlights. And those are what I want to share with you guys today. 🙂

familyOur family at the finish line (plus a photobomb)

brothers

The Walk itself was fun. From my mother-in-law’s awesome warm-up dance (which I am too kind to post here 😉 ), to Michael laughing at Christopher dancing with the flowers (see pic above), to getting to catch up with my sister-in-law, Katy. She and I chatted through most of the walk and I got to hear all about her new job and her volunteer work with the SPCA. I love hearing people talk about things they’re passionate about. 🙂

rach and marty

Time with my mother-in-law is a blessing. She and I had some great conversations this weekend that reminded me of just what an incredible lady she is. She is the primary care giver for my father-in-law right now and her strength just truly amazes me. I have learned so much about faithfulness, support, and how to love big from her. She is one of the best people to have in your corner and I’m so thankful to have her in my life.

brothers2Christopher and Michael walking together

Christopher and his brother are only 18 months apart and they were super close growing up. They even went to university at the same time and roomed together all four years. Since growing up and moving to different states, they talk frequently, but don’t get to see each other in person very often. So Christopher loves any chance he gets to hang out with his brother. Sometimes I could close my eyes and listen to the two of them talk and feel like we are back in the cafeteria at university as they talk about their shared interests. So much has changed in the years since we graduated, but a lot has stayed the same. 🙂

I mentioned earlier that my father-in-law has continued to decline, but there were still plenty of happy moments with him as well. My absolute favorite was when we went to Oktoberfest and he danced with my mother-in-law. This video brings tears to my eyes to see the two of them so happy and playful. Speaking of Oktoberfest… my sister-in-law, Katy, is planning to share more about it on her blog (Katy’s Life Story) if you’re interested in more details. 🙂

Have you been part of a walk or run that means a lot to you?

Love Rach

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32 responses to “Our family took a walk

  1. Pingback: Five Things to Do at the McKinney Oktoberfest (that don’t include beer) | Katy's Life Story

  2. I’m so sorry about your father-in-law, I know how hard it is to watch a parent suffer. But so thankful for the good days and the family moments like this! They are beyond special!

  3. That video is priceless! How your mother in law is reminds me of the story of Naomi and Ruth!

  4. That video is awesome!

  5. Ahh, I love the video. Something to treasure no matter what the future brings and what your family encounters. I love that you have such a great relationship with your mother-in-law. You are a blessing to each other.

    • Yes, absolutely! I have a couple of videos I’ve taken of him over the past couple of years during the better moments because I want us to be able to remember him that way. And show our kids what a fun guy he was.

      And oh my goodness, I’m so grateful for her! She’s an amazing lady!

  6. I’m soooo sorry about your father in law!! My grandma has had dementia for many years and at first I was always so sad and it was hard to see her that way! It’s of course gotten worse as time has gone on but I love seeing how happy she seems! She always seems to be full of bliss and love and even though she has no clue who I am, she is always SO happy to see me (and tells me 100 times each visit haha) she is the sweetest thing!! I’m sure your father in law is such a sweet man, too! I know it is hard to see him that way 😦 What a fun walk to just be with your loved ones and reminisce together in honor of your father in law! I love his cute little dance haha 🙂 Glad you get to spend time with him!!
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

    • That’s SO good to hear that she still seems so happy to see you. That’s so precious! I hope his dad will continue to enjoy being around his family even as he continues to decline. He no longer knows who any of us are, but he isn’t fearful of us. And he seems comfortable around us. Which from what I’ve heard, isn’t always the case with people who have dementia. I don’t know if it will always be like this, but it’s encouraging to hear your story about your grandmother. Thanks for sharing and for being so understanding. You are a sweet soul, Candace. 🙂

  7. this was so bittersweet. it warmed my heart for the happy moments but i know how hard it must be.

  8. Such a precious video! Sending so much love, hugs, and prayers!!!

  9. So sorry to hear about your father in law… that has got to be so hard. But it sounds like you guys had a great time all together. What a sweet idea to walk in honor of him!

  10. SO great that you could all participate and spend time together as a family. I know that probably meant a lot to Chris’s mom.

  11. Oh girl, I’m so sorry to hear about your father in law declining. Dementia is so difficult. I love that you had some happy moments this weekend, and I can’t wait to watch the Oktoberfest video!

  12. I’m so sorry to hear that your father-in-law is getting worse–that’s got to be really tough on the entire family. 😦 But it’s so nice to see you all coming together to support him! I can’t even imagine being in Christopher’s mom’s shoes.

    • I know. I think about that some times (since dementia can be hereditary), but Christopher and I try not to go there. Because worrying about it now won’t change the future. So we try to live a healthy life and exercise (things to prevent stroke which is what started all this for his dad). It has been so hard to watch the man we know, disappear. I can’t imagine how Marty must feel after so many years of marriage!

  13. I’m glad you guys were able to do this all together. My grandma has actually been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s since we left the country–it was no surprise to anyone, but still it’s hard to hear–and knowing that we will never see her the same again, that’s kinda hard.

  14. Your in-laws are wonderful people!!

  15. Pingback: Lately |

  16. I know this is an old post now, but I came over from your link in today’s post and just had to comment. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s, so I know it can be just horrible. I’ve never done the walk, but you’ve inspired me to check out when and where it is here and hopefully participate!

    But early onset is the hardest to swallow. I’m so sorry. 😦 After my dad passing away and also seeing my grandmother go through Alzheimer’s, this really got to me. Your MIL seems like an amazing woman.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet support, friend. Just having people care means a lot. I hope you will be able to join one of the walks this year! I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. It is such a horrible disease.

      And yes, my mother-in-law really is a champ. She has taken on so much and it just really amazes me how she handles everything with so much grace!

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