I met Deena in 1985, but it would be over 20 years, before we started to share a life together.  Happily, we were married in August 2013, exactly 58 days after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in California.  We were overjoyed when, in June 2015, our marriage was finally legally recognized throughout the country.

Deena was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in June 2017.  We were only 3 years into our retirement with plans to take long trips in our motorhome and cruises in Europe.  We had settled into our beautiful new home with amazing views of the desert and mountains.  Gratefully, after our move from San Diego to Tucson, we had built a wonderful new community of friends whose love and support gave us strength through this journey.

I can’t say that I was surprised by the diagnosis.  I knew that Alzheimer’s ran throughout Deena’s family, with her mother, grandmother and great aunt all having been diagnosed with the disease.  So, I knew her chances of getting it were high.  I just didn’t think that it would happen so early.  She was only 71 at the time of her diagnosis.

Deena died on December 18, 2020 due to complications from Alzheimer’s and COVID-19.  Thankfully her son David and I were able to be with her when she died.  Her passing has left a hole in my heart that I don’t know how to fill.  But I hope that in sharing our story, other caregivers will feel less alone, more understood and more empowered to be the caregiver they want to be.