The Path Not Chosen


On a path
She did not choose
Yet it will willed by God


Slowly
Eventually all
Would be taken from her


Even there
Blessings were found
In the midst of Alzheimer’s


Once unable
To openly express love
She unashamedly offers hugs and affection


Susan Bunts Wachtel
April 2009

While unpacking the remaining boxes from our move I discovered a writing tablet that I used to carry with me on my visits to see my mom. I discovered this poem that I had written just before her death. The exact date is unknown…but it was in late April 2008 shortly before her death.

My mother Gayle Lorenat feared Alzheimer’s because her sister had died from it. She saw its effects and the devastation first hand. I hated it because it took a smart, bright, proper woman…and robbed her of dignity. Yet at the end of her life…after six years of Alzheimer’s I had to admit…there were a few blessings from God in the midst. One of those blessings was that my mother who had never been one to be affectionate or say I love you was finally able to freely express love.


The picture above was taken of my mother, Gayle Lorenat shortly after we moved her into Brighton Gardens. She was more with it at that time and tried to give the appearance of normal. She had to wear a bracelet that would set off an alarm because she liked to “escape”. I called it her “LoJack” bracelet. She would walk away and have no idea how to get back. She was unable to communicate coherently.

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