In January 2018, my husband Wayne received his Alzheimer’s diagnosis from the Brain Health Center in Vancouver. Thus began our four-year odyssey ending January 6, 2022 when Wayne embraced a very peaceful death through MAID.

From the time of his diagnosis, Wayne expressed his desire for MAID. He never once wavered from this choice. Three months before choosing his date, Wayne called me into the bathroom having just showered saying, “Come quick, I have something important to tell you before I forget.” In a very animated voice Wayne said, “When I choose my date for MAID, I don’t want anyone trying to change my mind.” Words I would not forget.

During those four years, Wayne and I met regularly at three-month intervals with two amazing and compassionate doctors, Dr. Tanja Daws who would be Wayne’s future MAID provider and Dr. Pawel Juralowicz, his geriatric psychiatrist. Both of us felt grateful and blessed with the special relationship we had developed with each doctor.

Wayne painted two powerful images when referring to Alzheimer’s. He described Alzheimer’s as a black board erasing memories of his life. The emotional distress he felt was captured with the image of a snow globe being shaken. His thoughts scattered in all directions.

During the course of our journey, Wayne and I had become nurturing companions to one other. From the beginning, one of my tasks, a very crucial one, was to alert Wayne and his doctors to what we referred to as Red Flags. They were those significant observations that indicated possible changes in the progression of his Alzheimer’s.

Wayne never lost his insight, which was both a blessing and a curse. Shortly after his passing, I realized that Wayne had given me the gift of his life. Realizing his quality of life would continue to deteriorate, Wayne wanted me to stay healthy and move forward with my life. Moving forward from my present perspective means to honour Wayne’s journey by sharing recorded conversations that capture what he referred to as ‘glimpses’ into what he was experiencing. I have done so with his blessing in my book, Shared Conversations – Glimpses into Alzheimer’s.

My personal reflections, created shortly after our conversations, along with important emails sent to Wayne’s doctors, were included to give glimpses into how the accelerated progression of Alzheimer’s experienced by Wayne challenged both of us.

My hope is that this book will offer glimpses of what life challenged by Alzheimer’s can be like. It may also enhance communication skills in conversations with someone experiencing Alzheimer’s. Hopefully Shared Conversations – Glimpses into Alzheimer’s will encourage discussions around what should be an individual’s legal right to create and sign an advance request.