What is the End Game?

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Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging and frustrating. But for me, it’s something I want to do. My goal has always been to keep Jim at home with me as long as possible, and hopefully, he’ll never need to live in a facility. But after getting to know many people faced with my same circumstances, I realize what I’m trying to do is not for everyone. But it still surprises me when my decision to keep Jim at home strikes a raw nerve in some people.

Blog 122017 End Game MAIN FRONT PAGE Photo
Jim & Vicki At Christmas

One particular evening stands out to me. We had been with friends out of town, and Jim had a difficult day. I knew a change of environment usually upset him, so his demeanor didn’t faze me much. I knew it would quickly pass. But one of our friends had grown weary of Jim’s anxiety and outbursts and saw the situation quite differently. While eight of us were having dinner at our rental house, my friend stood up and confronted me. “What is the end game here?” he demanded angrily. I was shocked. The questions he was really asking were “Why are you doing this?” and “Why don’t you put Jim in a facility?” I muttered something about this not being the time to talk about it, and he left the table.

His question and obvious anger stayed with me. What is my “end game” all about? It is about a lot of things. I think Jim is happier at home, and I think I am happier with him at home. That in itself is enough. But there is more to it than just being happy, and I’m sure others in my situation feel the same way. One experience we had years ago really gets to the heart of how I feel.

Dating Jim was like a competitive sport. He was incredibly handsome, and women loved flirting with him. He was always dating two or three women at a time. I was obviously out of my league. I decided this relationship would need serious prayer, so I designated the intersection of Providence and Hwy. 51 as my “Jim Prayer intersection. Every time I went through that intersection, I prayed for our relationship. One day while driving through the intersection – and at the very moment I was praying I saw Jim coming from the opposite direction. I was so startled that he was suddenly right there. When our eyes met, I gave him a sheepish grin and drove on. About a year later we married.

Two years after that, I casually asked Jim if he remembered when he decided to marry me. He said, “I remember exactly. I was driving through the intersection of Providence and Hwy. 51. I looked up and there you were. You had this funny little smile on your face. I decided then I wanted to marry you. I was stunned. At the moment I was praying for our relationship, Jim decided to marry me. After I told Jim the part of the story he didn’t know, it was a watershed moment for us. We realized there was no question the Lord had brought us together, and that knowledge marked us for life.

So when the question “What is the end game? arises, I can answer that one. The Lord has blessed us with a 30-year relationship. I always want to honor and protect what God has given us, so I will take care of Jim as long as I can. I want to enjoy the gift of love and devotion God gave us for as many days and years as we can. That is my end game.

And finally, Merry Christmas to all! May this 2017 holiday season be a time your most treasured family members remember warmly for many years to come. Luke 2: 11-14

21 Responses

  1. Suzanne L Kish

    I received this post on Dec 15 where as last year’s On the Road with Jim was received Dec 14. In my opinion much has happened in those 366 days. Both you and Jim seem much happier. Jim has started to talk more and has a new response…Laughing. He has such an infectious laugh that causes everyone else to laugh.

    May your Holiday be everything that you want it to be. Merry Christmas Vicki and Jim.

  2. Clark Neilson

    Thank you for your heartfelt words Vicki. They are inspiring to me though I know that is not your primary goal. Seeing you (rather hearing you) describe the situation you have in such a godly manner humbles me!

    Blessings and Merry Christmas, Clark

  3. Nancy Taylor

    Your insight is truly remarkable and a real testimony to the covenant of marriage. I hope one day you will compile these posts into a book for everyone to learn from and be encouraged.
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Ken Samuelson Sr.

    Thanks Vicki: my precious wife has been gone for 9 months and just wish she could be here so I could take care of her. Merry Christmas, Ken

  5. Allan Anderson

    Vicki…..such a love story. Yes, those are tears in my eyes. “FOR BETTER or WORST ” May the the joy of your heart always be showing…..MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND THAT “GOOD LOOKING JIM.”

  6. Wow, Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. You are an inspiration.

  7. Vic,knowing you and Jim for so long , being there with you and Sandy doing your hair the day of your marriage and the joy of seeing you so happy that day. Blessed my being that day and has been a light of true love. The kind God shines upon. Seeing the care, the love and putting his needs first. I have seen a woman grow in grace. A true inspiration. God Bless you both!!!!
    The end game is a woman who truly loves,,, Proverbs 31/10-31..The Virtuous Woman. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her……..

  8. Elaine Ginsberg

    Vicki, the story of your prayers and results was wonderful. As you know we have Allison at home and with ALS she continues to decline. I’m sure there are people who question our decision also and it has changed our relationship with some people but we are very sure that this is best. My dad had dementia and my mom took care of him until he was hospitalized and she was told by the doctors that she could no longer care for him, that he needed more than she could do. When and if you reach this point you can be confident in knowing that you gave it your all! Merry Christmas!

  9. Betty burroughs

    Thank you for this beautiful testimony of what LOVE is all about. Jimmy is sure a lucky man. Merry Christmas to you both. You continue to follow your heart!!

    I continue to visit weekly my friend of 60 plus years. She is now in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. I do know somewhat of what you are going through.

    God bless you

    Betty Anne (jimmy’s first cousin)

  10. I LOVE this story!
    Merry Christmas to you and Jim, Vicki!

  11. Phil Parshall

    We so appreciate all you are doing for Jim. Be encouraged that your many fans and friends are leading the cheers for you as you traverse a rocky and lonely journey.
    Phil Parshall SIM

  12. Zeta Pittman

    Thank you for reminding us all what true love is all about!

  13. Marguerite Govoni

    Vicki, I loved your story of true love. My hero and my love for 60 years has Alzheimer’s and like you I choose to care for him. He is 88 and I am a strong and determined 82 year old who won’t listen to our kids to hire someone to care for him. He well provided for me over the years. I never wanted for anything so now I want to return that love and devotion to him. I will admit there are tough days. One when he fell but God gave me the strength to lift 170 pounds and we had a laugh about it. No one was hurt thank God. I praise you and will pray for your continued courage and love for your loved one. Marguerite

  14. Melissa Selig

    Love this story Vicki. I think it is my favorite thus far. I love where you say the knowledge marked you for life, because it truly was life changing. What a blessing you must be to each other. Merry Christmas to you my friend.

  15. Mike Abernathy

    Best wishes to you and Jim!

  16. Vicki

    Thanks for sharing a nice story during the Christmas Season.

  17. Linda Clarke

    Aunt Vicki , you are truly an Angel. You take care of Uncle Jimmy like know one else would. Yes it is very difficult some times but your strength is amazing. Know one walks in your shoes but you. Some people need to mind there own business. True love is true love, and I know how much you love him. You keep doing what you are doing. I love you with all my heart. You are an amazing wife that stands by her man. Love you both hope you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

  18. Vickie,
    What a great story. True love at its best!

    Merry Christmas to you both.

  19. Jim and Tish Young

    Beautifully and lovingly said Vicki.
    Merry Christmas to you and Jim!

  20. Elaine Lyerly

    This is such a beautiful story on so many levels. Tank you for sharing your journey with us.

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