No matter what adversities we encounter, we can always grow spiritually. My spouse Julie was diagnosed at age 57 with Alzheimer’s. She has lived in memory care for the past 7 years. She is now in hospice. This is one of six blogs about what Julie needed from me as her caregiver and how her needs shaped my spiritual growth.

Julie needed me to insure that we kept our values straight in our decision making

Early on, we had conversations about our values. We put a premium on time together and minimizing other tasks, and making choices that were grounded more in deeper meaning and less in finances. These were countercultural choices that caused a lot of tension in us and in some of our relationships. But, they were consistent with the way we had lived our lives up to that point.

Despite the advice of our attorney to own a home for asset protection reasons, we chose to look for an independent senior apartment. I also decided to leave my full time job.  In the apartment to which we moved, I went to work as a part time janitor, which made it possible for me to check on Julie during the day.

With Julie no longer able to work and the impact of the Great Recession, there were friends and family that felt I should find new work that paid more than my role as a spiritual director and part time janitor. I chose and was supported by Julie in staying the course on both of those commitments.