The Sunset and Away From Her


After I walked the labyrinth, I watched the sunset.

I am at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, Florida, covering a missionary event.

After the labyrinth and the sunset, I hung out in my retreat room and watched Away From Her, a movie with Julie Christie who is awesome as Fiona — so great-looking, especially when cross-country skiing and going crazy!

You can tell that Fiona’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse by the way her hair gets messier. Her husband, Grant, played by Gordon Pinsent, also has way too much hair for an older person. He is unbelievably devoted. Not to ruin the plot for you, but Grant, the caregiving spouse, has a passionate moment with another caregiving spouse, Marian, played by the fabulous Olympia Dukakis.

You can see their happiness in this brief encounter — the sheer ecstasy. This encounter supports Pat Robertson’s advice  — to love your spouse, to get good care for your spouse and then divorce your divorce. I never thought I’d defend Pat Robertson, but after seeing Away From Her, I can understand where he’s coming from. Go for it, Marian and Grant!

But then there is my life, which is not a movie. As a caregiver of a spouse with Parkinson’s Disease, I feel, at times, very lonely and too hard-working. Of course, I am loving, supportive and grateful for my husband’s contribution and creativity. More than anything, I appreciate the way he lovingly parents our kids.

Unlike Fiona and Grant, we do not have great hair. We do not cross country ski. We work; we parent; we lose patience; we laugh; we cry; we take out the garbage. Our lives do not fit into a neat movie plot; it does not always make good sense. So to figure it all out, I love to travel for work, watch the sun set and walk the labyrinth.

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