The Longest Goodbye

Lyndon Blackbird learned how to gently dab and smooth foundation onto his wife’s beautiful face. He’d known Evelyn for almost 30 years, but her beauty regimen was completely new territory. As Evelyn’s early onset Alzheimer’s quickly progressed, Lyndon had to learn a lot more. How to help her shower. How to choose a coordinated outfit and get her dressed every morning. How to calm her down when she got angry or confused.

“When you love somebody, you just want to take care of them,” Lyndon said. “She’s given so much to me over the years, that it just seems like something natural to move forward and take care of her and see her through.”

When Evelyn was diagnosed in February 2012, Lyndon looked into her teary, fearful eyes and promised to stay by her side and devote all his attention to her care. Both of them wanted to be as informed and prepared as possible for the difficult road ahead, so they turned to the Alzheimer Society of Toronto for help. Thanks to support from donors like you, Lyndon took a Dementia 101 course, joined a caregiver support group, and developed a roadmap for Evelyn’s care so they could finance everything and everyone she needed: medication, personal support workers, physiotherapists, and ultimately, a nursing home.

“There’s so many programs and seminars that the Alzheimer Society offers,” Lyndon said. “I took advantage of them and I used them and they helped me all the way.”

As Evelyn’s memories quickly faded, Lyndon re-told her stories of their happiest moments together – skydiving, feeding kangaroos in Australia, watching classic movies, hosting Dungeons and Dragons game nights. These are the memories that Lyndon cherishes even more now that Evelyn is gone.

Lyndon also became a board member of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, honouring Evelyn’s wish for him to give back to the community that helped them navigate their journey.

“She wanted me to have a purpose,” he recalled. “I already knew it would be with the Alzheimer Society.”

 

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