An unforgettable Valentine: A husband shares his wife’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CNN) — Valentine’s Day is about spending time with the person you love. But, what if that person doesn’t remember you?

A Memphis, Tenn., man visits his wife almost every day. She has Alzheimer’s, but she’s still his Valentine.

“My favorite memory … I guess when she said ‘I do,’” Warner Gregory said. 

No one can ever take away the past, a comfort Gregory knows beats time.

“This is all I can do. I come and love her. I’m here probably five days out of the week,” Gregory said. 

His wife, Judy, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost 10 years ago.

“When this happened, I was angry. I said, ‘You’ve missed the mark. I was standing over here, God. It was supposed to have been me,'” Gregory said.

In the last three years, it’s progressed.

“This disease seems to strike people who are creative, artistic, smart, loving. It takes all that away from them, and it takes away from their family, that they don’t have that anymore,” Gregory said.

Robbed of a constant and familiar spirit, but left with glimpses of recognition, like last year’s Valentine’s Day.

“I walked in the room and she goes, ‘I want to kiss you.’ But, it went away. Just as fast as she said it, it went away,” Gregory said.

Gone, but etched into Gregory’s heart, beating for another warm second.

“She’s been more chatty today than she has in a while. I haven’t seen her cross her legs in quite some time. I have been known to walk out the back of my apartment and just yell at God going, ‘Why?’ But, like I said, I’ve turned her over to Him a long time ago, and I’ve told her it’s OK to let go,” Gregory said.

Because the love always stays. Gregory is advocating for state legislation that would provide relief to dementia caregivers. He says he’s hoping for a cure, but, for now, he’ll just be there for other families … and, of course, for his beloved wife.

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