True Love Beyond Memory: Husband Cared for Wife With Dementia for Almost 10 Years
People with dementia can find things harder to cope with if their routines are disrupted. But, as cliché as it may sound, true love wins over any obstacle that may come along the way. Today, we present you the story of a loving couple in which the husband had his wife’s back for around 10 years, even when everything seemed dark. “People with dementia...when things are out of order, it tends to make things a little bit harder,” recalled Becky, the daughter of Carl and Mary Jane.
Carl and Mary Jane prove that true love does exist.
Mary Jane Gacono struggled with dementia for almost a decade, and her husband, Carl, was her constant companion throughout the journey. Despite the challenges, Carl was committed to keeping Mary Jane at home in Annville, Pennsylvania, until her final six months when she needed to be lifted out of her chair and bed.
However, on a recent morning when Carl had a doctor’s appointment, he had to turn to their daughter Becky for assistance in caring for Mary Jane during his absence. Becky remembers, “My dad had a doctor’s appointment the other morning, so I head over to sit with Mom while he’s gone. When I get there, Mom is in the shower. Dad spends at least 10 minutes going over Mom’s morning routine, so I can do what he does each morning.”
“Today, he kissed her goodbye, and she kissed him.”
Carl’s a thoughtful person who took care of the little details. As she’d get ready for the day, he’d make sure her glasses were clean and would place them by the bathroom sink alongside the jewelry that she wore each day. He reminded himself to put on her jewelry after she got dressed, explaining which pieces clipped on and which went over her head.
Moving on to her clothing, he presented her turtleneck, sweater, and pants for the day. On the floor beside her outfit, her shoes were placed with a pair of cozy Mickey Mouse socks folded neatly on top. Her undergarments were arranged meticulously on the back of her wheelchair.
In health and in sickness.
“I tell him, ’I got this,’ and send him on his way. He keeps looking back to see if he forgot to tell me anything else I will need to know. His love for her is palpable,” Becky stated.
According to Becky, Mary Jane has always been a supportive and encouraging partner to Carl throughout their marriage. She describes Mary Jane as Carl’s “biggest cheerleader” who dedicated her life to loving and supporting him in his endeavors.
“The kiss,” Becky captioned the photo below.
Carl reciprocated his wife’s love by being there for her every step of the way during her battle with dementia. Though he never regretted a moment spent with her, it was evident that caring for Mary Jane had taken a toll on him.
Becky reveals that along with her, some of Mary Jane and Carl’s other children also helped out with caring for Mary Jane during the weekdays, as it was clear that their father was struggling with exhaustion. Becky acknowledged he was doing the best he could, despite the challenges that came with watching his beloved wife slip away due to dementia.
She explained that their love for each other was unconditional and that her father had been an amazing caregiver through it all. She believes that their relationship epitomized the concept of unconditional love, as they’ve always been deeply in love with each other. Unfortunately, Mary Jane passed away in March 2019, and her beloved husband, Carl, in November of that same year.
Becky uses social media to tell her parents’ story.
The family has chronicled Carl and Mary Jane’s journey on a Facebook page called “Our Journey Through Our Mom’s Dementia.” On the page, they share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs in caring for Mary Jane as she battled dementia. Follow them to learn more about how true love works!
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