A love for a family member is unconditional. You’re with them through the highs and the lows – and sometimes the lows get very low. For many people, caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s is one of those tough challenges in life. Julie Bick of North Bend, Ohio, knows how hard this can be all too well.
Julie’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year, shortly after the death of her mother. Julie and her two children moved in with him so she could be the primary caregiver.
The family do their best to help Julie’s father. Sadly, one hard part of the job is taking things away from her father. He’s not allowed to administer his own medications now. The keys to his truck have been taken away and he’s no longer allowed to do household or yard chores that used to occupy his time.
After some research, I found out that Alzheimer’s patients like routines and if you break them, they can get pretty upset and emotional.
Thankfully, Julie’s dad does have one routine that he cherishes dearly. So much so that she doesn’t want to interfere with it.
Julie’s father with Alzheimer’s chats with his local garbage man
Harold, Julie’s dad’s garbage man, knows that talking to the elderly man means a great deal to him. Every Monday he’d walk down the driveway to the garbage truck for his routine chat.
Julie’s father loves talking to Harold and he looks forward to it each Monday. Harold is a very respected and well-loved member of the community for his kind gestures.
If we miss Harold when he comes, he will always go the extra mile to walk our cans back to our garage. I’ve heard other neighbours say that Harold will even knock on your door if the pickup day is around a holiday and you have forgotten to take your garbage out.
On a recent and quite difficult Monday morning, Julie was feeling particularly depressed. She was crying on the front porch, hidden from her dad so he wouldn’t get upset himself.
Julie then heard the garbage truck heading towards the house and she spotted her father rooting around the garage for a chair
I asked what he was doing and offered my help. He said he needed a chair to sit down, as he is very unstable on his feet. I asked, “Where would you like the chair?” as I was carrying it out of the garage. He requested I take it to the end of the driveway so he can visit with Harold.
This didn’t sound like a particularly odd request, Julie knows how much her father enjoys speaking to Harold. But then her father carried on speaking to her:
As we were walking to the end of the driveway, my father stops me and says, “Harold is my friend. He is religious and I would like a moment with Harold so we can pray for you.” I gave him his space and walked back to the porch with my eyes loading up with tears. I remember thinking to myself as I was walking back to the porch that no matter what disease my father has, it will never take away his love for me.
As Julie walked back to the house, she looked over her shoulder at the two chatting and she knew she had to take a picture to capture the moment.
“A moment like that, you just don’t see every day,” Julie said.
This simple act of kindness has touched me so much. Harold has touched my heart and I knew I had to share this with friends and family on Facebook. I did, and many asked me to please make the post public so they can share it. I have and this single post has reached thousands. There is so much good in this world, and it starts with simple acts of kindness. Harold, thank you for your kindness and prayers. I will never forget this moment.
Harold has been collecting the garbage at Julie’s dad’s house for years now. But even though he doesn’t know the family particularly well, they’ve always been friendly. Harold has also been made aware that Julie’s dad has Alzheimer’s but that doesn’t bother him. He still takes the time to go round, have a chat and share a personal prayer with the family.
How incredible is this story? At Happiest we love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section below. ?