About twice a week I walk with a warm and outgoing man who is sinking into the depths of Alzheimer's disease. This formerly brilliant man, a whiz with numbers can no longer remember his two adult daughters, his grandchildren or most other facets of his life.
He recalls his wife whom he lives with although her name is now vague. And when I arrive at their home and take him for a walk, it gives his wife a break as she can relax and for a little while not be concerned for his well-being.
The good news is he has for the time being kept his personality, and he is remarkably observant and appreciative of everything we see during our walk although a minute later he won't recall it.
With enthusiasm he will point out the beautiful homes we pass, the colorful flowers in bloom, the sounds and sight of the birds in flight and the peaceful feeling that comes when it is silent around us.
As we start our walk he will at times note how blue the sky is and of the warmth of the sun.
For him there is only this instant and with it all that life has to offer in the now. And he relishes everything we see, including the people we meet and the stories they share.
This man is aware of what Alzheimer's is doing to him and accepts his fate, trying to make the most of what he has while he has it. As we walk, I never ask him questions of the past, for it is important to help him retain his dignity. To test himself, he likes to read street signs and he still gets them right or close to right. And each time I commend him.
But what most stands out is how happy he is living in the moment, so happy it is captivating.
For the length of a good walk, each of us could put our cares aside and simply appreciate all that life has to offer us in the moment. It brings him great happiness and I assure you dear reader it is a real joy to share in such happiness, seeing the world constantly anew as he does.