Sheridan Rondeau’s Dear Braveheart recounts the author’s experience of loving and caring for her late husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Rondeau weaves a moving story of grace, hope and determination while tackling tough topics with a refreshing sense of humour and honesty.
The following excerpt is from Chapter 11, “Sand and Saltwater”
In 2005, an invitation came to us to join some friends for a Caribbean holiday. Tony and his first wife spent their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary on the island of Barbados, and he was keen to revisit. We confirmed that we would join three other couples there.
After the long flight, we settled into our room at the hotel. I asked him to slip out to the little store on the premises and pick up some milk for his morning coffee. Unexpectedly, he refused, and I exploded.
“I’ve done all the preparation, planning and packing to get here. Why are you acting so lazy?”
“I’m not lazy . . . and don’t you ever call me that again,” he snapped, concluding the exchange.
Seething with dismay, I slammed out and went for the milk. He’d been so eager to make the trip — I couldn’t figure out what was happening. It was our first big holiday together and I surmised that perhaps he was more tired than I’d realized.
After we went to the dining area for breakfast the next morning, Tony decided to sit on the balcony. He didn’t want to do anything other than that, so I donned my new bathing suit and went to the pool just underneath where he was sitting. I swam off my puzzlement, not having any idea why he was acting so strangely. The pool wasn’t a large one, nor was it crowded, and the view of the ocean was scintillating. It felt like we were in paradise.
When I looked up to try and catch Tony’s attention, he was gone. I didn’t think this was significant; I just presumed he was off snoozing. As I climbed the stairs and came into the corridor, there were three housekeeping attendants mopping and wringing water into a bucket. Tony had turned on the bathroom faucet and left it running, overflowing the sink. Again, I thought it was a simple accident and that it could have happened to anyone. Perhaps he’d been so excited to get back out on the balcony that it had slipped his mind.
It never crossed my thoughts that another life-altering situation was percolating.
Dear Braveheart – A Caregiver’s Loving Journey Through Alzheimer’s Dementia by Sheridan Rondeau is published by Crossfield Publishing and will be released March 22, 2022.