Love, Resilience, and Renewal

A Series by Caregiver Gerald Lloyd Wood

“This series of short stories and the accompanying original art were created to document and share my journey as a dementia caregiver. If you are caring for a loved one who is challenged by Alzheimer’s or another dementia, may they resonate with you while seeking meaning in your caregiving work and a better, brighter and healthier future. If this is your first time stopping by, I recommend starting from the beginning with Story #1: A Few Things I’ve Learned.”


Love, Resilience, and Renewal

The Passage of Time: Story #13

Each day we live with the false notion that life will never end. It seems unthinkable; yet, it most certainly will. In her book, Loving Someone Who Has Dementia, Dr. Pauline Boss said, “Death is a natural part of the circle of life.” p. 15. Ben Franklin famously said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” p. 227:8. Although we know our days are numbered, no good purpose is served by knowing the time, place and circumstances of our ultimate demise. 

In moments of loss, we were prone to wonder, “Why”?  It seems only natural to question the unfairness of untimely departures and unrealized dreams. Since fate is unpredictable, it behooves us to live each day fearlessly, with genuine enthusiasm and not a single wasted opportunity.

We are too often reminded of the abruptness, unpredictability and seeming unfairness of death. Traffic accidents, illness, injuries, suicides, murders and war take their toll too soon. Such news tears us apart. When family, friends, associates and acquaintances are tragically lost, we are reminded of our tenuous earthly sojourn.

Threats are everywhere, externally and internally. The danger of a close call every now and then lurks beyond our awareness or waits like the beady-eyed black Raven of Native-American lore. Our continued survival is chalked up to either providence or something beyond understanding.

Since fate is unpredictable, it behooves us to live each day fearlessly, with genuine enthusiasm and not a single wasted opportunity.

The promise of faith comforts believers when loss occurs. Otherwise, mortality awaits the roll of dice. One should feel a deep sense of gratitude for longevity and the incumbent opportunities each new day brings for service, accomplishment, health, happiness and hope. Ronald Reagan, who would succumb to Alzheimer’s disease, wrote in a personal letter to Margaret Thatcher, “Throughout my life, I’ve always believed that life’s path is determined by a Force more powerful than fate.” p.829.

In the rare event that one bears witness to the passage of another human being, a loved one perhaps, there is a stunning realization that the mystery of journey’s end has at last been revealed. At the same time, we are reminded by Max Lucado, author of Six Hours One Friday, that, “Someday that will be me.” p. 103. The finality and significance of such moments honor unique souls whose shared lives and presence touched us. Our memories of those who have passed remain forever in our hearts and minds.

Boss, Pauline, Ph.D., Loving Someone Who Has Dementia. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrich,Eds., Franklin quotation fromAmerican Quotations. New York: Wings Books, 1992.

Lucado, Max, Six Hours One Friday. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1989, rev. 2004.

Skinner, Kiron K., A. Anderson and M. Anderson eds., A Life in Letters. New York: Free Press, 2003. (Reagan quotation)

© 2023 Gerald Lloyd Wood. This story and accompanying art are used with permission of the author, Gerald Lloyd Wood.


After Linda’s passing, Gerald reinvented himself by taking classes and finding new potential as an abstract expressionist artist. Each story in the Love, Resilience, and Renewal series is accompanied by one of his works of art.

Abstract expression Oil Pastel painting by Gerald Lloyd Wood titled, “Transition.” This painting was chosen because death is oftentimes referred to as a transition depending on one’s faith or culture.

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