“This is the sweetest. I’m writing in to our town about Harold, our garbage man, and what a great man he is. He knows my dad has Alzheimer’s and says hi to him every week and asks how he is doing. This morning, dad asked me to take a chair out to the curb because he wanted to talk to Harold. I helped dad get a chair out. I stand with him until Harold arrives. Dad starts crying and asks for me to walk away. I ask why, and he says, ‘Harold is a good man. He is religious, and I want to pray with him for you.’ It b-reaks my heart, I had to walk away. This is a photo of Harold on his knees praying with dad.
In 2017 my father was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This diagnosis came 1 year after my mother’s passing and it was something I truly was not prepared for. I told myself no matter what happens, I will always be there for my father. I never was able to spend much time with my mother as her passing was sudden. I let life get in the way of making time for my mother and I refuse to let life get in the way of me spending these last moments with my father.
Being a single mother of two young children (Carlee 10 years old and Brantlee 8 years old), I decided we together would embrace this news and do what we can to provide the best possible life for him. We moved in with him and became his only care givers. My father was so happy about this. He is such a fun loving guy that makes friends with anyone he comes in contact with. One person once told me my dad is just like Norm from Cheers. Everyone knows and loves him.
As his Alzheimer’s progressed, we were faced with a few obstacles that I knew would devastate my father. I had never dealt with this disease before and had no idea how to handle things, but knew I had to make changes for his safety. First, we had to take away his truck keys which took away his freedom to come and go as he pleased. This really put him in a de-pressed state.
Then we had to take other steps like taking away his freedom of doing certain tasks – taking his own medicine, cutting the grass, etc. After some research, I found out that Alzheimer’s patients like routines and if you b-reak them, they can get pretty upset and emotional.
One of my father’s weekly routines is to go out to visit our garbage man (Harold) when he comes to pick up our garbage. This absolutely tickles my father to see people he recognizes. If my father meets you one time, he already classifies you as his friend. Monday mornings I hear my father say, ‘I’m going to see my friend Harold.’
Sometimes I will walk out with him and visit and other times, I just keep a close eye on him from the window. 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 neighbors 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.
This Story Was Originally Published On “lovewhatmatters.com”