Jun 132017
 

The fact that my dad even knows who Matt is feels quite incredible. My dad was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease 11 years ago, and my husband Matt came into our lives just three years ago.

What makes my heart soar is how they’ve become best buddies. My dad still lives at home with my mom, his soulmate turned full-time caregiver. While he cannot be left alone, dress himself, buckle his seatbelt, or even open the door, when Matt is around, his former self shines through. The two are downright squirrely together!

When Matt and I got engaged, we decided to have a small ceremony, because we were worried about how my dad would handle a large crowd. While wedding planning, Matt’s only requests included a canoe full of beer and a food truck parked in the driveway.  The only “must” on my list was for my dad to walk me down the aisle, and that I would wear red Converse chucks since my dad also rocked a pair when he married my mom 33 years earlier.

We invited 80 guests to the ceremony. Locked arm-in-arm with my dad – with the biggest smile I’ve ever had in my life – I remember hearing my cue: “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys. This was it. The big moment.

The chapel doors opened, and I locked eyes with the most handsome groom I’ve ever seen in my life. But then I felt my dad start to tense up.  Even though there was a sea of familiar faces smiling brightly at us, my dad didn’t recognize a single face.

“Dad,” I said with my biggest, reassuring smile, “do you see Matt down there?” I pointed down the aisle. “Today’s my wedding day; you just need to walk me down this aisle, and give me away to Matt. We’ve got this.”

Ever so slowly he began to shuffle down the aisle on our way to my groom. At this point, everyone was crying and smiling. The song may have repeated, but I can’t be sure.

When we got to the front of the church, I gave my dad a huge hug; we had made it!  With lots of happy tears in her eyes, my mom joined us to help my dad to his seat. Slowly, with a wink, I said: “Do you see mom? You’re going to go sit next to her while I marry this kid.” Choking back tears, my dad said, “I love you. I just love you so much!” The day was about as close to perfect as they come.

Alzheimer’s disease has taught me so much about living life to the fullest and cherishing the time I have with my family. Matt is such a special part of our family now, and I know my dad would have chosen no one else to be by our side as we battle this terrible disease. Recently, my dad asked if I was “still hanging out with that astronaut guy.” I replied, “Dad, do you mean Matt? He’s a pilot, but yes, he’s my husband, so he’s stuck with me!”

My dad comes to hang out with Matt and I every Thursday, even sleeping over, to give my mom a much-needed break. The memories I made on that milestone that was our wedding day continue to fuel my fight to find a cure…but our “Thursdate” adventures are pretty darn special too. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

About the Author: As a member of the Minnesota-North Dakota chapter’s young professionals group and Blondes vs. Brunettes and as an Alzheimer’s Congressional Team member, Chloe Misner has been a powerful motivator for her peers in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

Learn More:

  9 Responses to “A Proud Father with Alzheimer’s Walks His Daughter Down the Aisle”

  1. I know this bunch and I can tell you that alz is in for one hell of a fight. Gene, Chloe and Matt – I love you guys.

  2. What a moving story. Thank you for sharing it, Chloe.

  3. Beautiful, Chloe!

  4. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Chloe!

  5. I would really like to tell my daughter's Alzheimer's stories. Glad they got a chance to share. Not many people want to hear, but desperately need to

  6. My dad had Alz when he was 57. Nowadays after 12 years he doesn't realize that he has two beautiful grandgranddaughters, doesn't recognize me his daughter, my brother or my mom, his wife; Alzheimer took his life but it also took our lives. These long goodbyes are excruciating…
    Wish you Chloe and your family strength to fight against Alz!

  7. What an inspiring story. New memories can still be made!! I believe our fathers are still there and know what's good. I'm glad your dad knows Matt and finds comfort in him the "astronaut"! God bless you. I continue to find comfort in the glimpses of reality in his new world. I'm glad i have my father still I just wish my mom was still alive to help him through this. 73 is way too young for this horrible disease. Keep creating new memories with your loved one never let this disease win. I LOVE your story!

  8. Beautiful story. All people should have a "Thursdate" We have Wed Soirees, most important entry on calendar.

  9. your stories brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful daughter you are. Dad may not always remember, but he will always feel your love.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

Alz.org main site  |  Research  |  Advocacy  |  Care and support  |  Message boards  |  Disclaimer  |  Donate  |  Contact us  |  Sign up for e-news
© 2011 Alzheimer's Association | Blog Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha