When I was taking care of my parents, whom were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I prayed daily for God’s guidance. Through prayer I knew that no matter how bad or how difficult things became God would carry me through it. I read many books on the subject of Alzheimer’s. I read many books on the subject of Caregiving and I read many books on the subject of Dying. I was convinced I was an expert on the subject matter of Alzheimer’s, Caregiving and Dying and no matter what obstacle I confronted I would be able to overcome it.

The reality for me was overcoming my fear of watching my parents die. Little did I realize they would die just 36 Days Apart of one another. I remember talking with family and friends about my fear of death and being alone in the room with Mom and Dad when they die. I did not want my parents to feel my fear, because I did not want to burden them with my pain.

My determination of being present with both of them when they die was deeply seeded inside of me. But, I needed to overcome the fear! I prayed daily to God to help me overcome that fear. I voiced my desire to Hospice that I wanted to be present when my parents passed. Hospice turned to me and told me “it’s not always your choice.” Many weeks prior to my father’s passing I would wake every night at exactly 3:33. I didn’t understand why I was waking at this time, until the phone call came that night at exactly 3:33 telling me that my father had passed. I didn’t get to be with my father when he passed. He didn’t want me there. He sensed my fear and as a father, who always protects his children, he didn’t want me to see him die. I remember when I was saying my “goodbyes” to him, there was one promise that I made him. I promised him that I would be by my mother’s side, holding her hand until the very end. I promised him that I would not let her die alone.

I prayed constantly to God to give me the strength and courage, and to erase all fear inside of me when my mother passed. I had made a promise to my father, and I was determined to keep it. You can read all the books in the world and talk to all the people in the world about dying, but the only one thing that will keep you strong and give you courage to see it through is God. God answered my prayers, I held my mother’s hand the day she passed, I held her hand, never to let go of her, never to forget her, to always keep her close in my heart. That day I kept my promise to Dad and on that day God held my hand.

God Bless You,
Deborah Tornillo
Author, 36 Days Apart
(Net proceeds of my book will be donated to The Alzheimer’s Association)

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Deborah Tornillo

Deborah Tornillo

Deborah Tornillo was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas by her loving and nurturing parents. She attended the University of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she studied Art. After marrying, raising two daughters and enjoying life with her family, Deborah joined a higher calling by committing to be the primary caregiver for her parents, both of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in February 2006. In her new collection of memoirs, 36 Days Apart: A memoir of a daughter, her parents and the Beast named – Alzheimer’s: A story of Life, Love and Death, Deborah chronicles the time spent taking care of her mother and father. 36 Days Apart recounts this painful, enlightening journey, and Tornillo writes candidly about the struggles and fears she faced as her parents’ caregiver. As their disease progressed, Tornillo was faced with the difficult task of learning how to be a parent to her own parents. Through the year and a half of caring for them she extensively researched Alzheimer’s in order to provide the best care possible, all the while knowing that the disease would eventually win in the end. 36 Days Apart gives an honest, unflinching look at the realities of caring for and losing loved ones to Alzheimer’s. Tornillo gives the reader an inside look into the day-to-day life she faced during her heartbreaking, difficult time.

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