Now it is My Turn to Be There for Him

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by caregiver, Julie Pacheco

My name is Julie Pacheco, I'm 47 years old and I take care of my step father Jack who is 90 years old. He suffers from dementia.

When I was 26 my mother married this man and he became a part of our crazy, dysfunctional family. By dysfunctional  I mean mainly myself, who at that time, was a single mother sufferring from the disease of addiction.

Jack was adopted  from birth and raised by a very polished  and well educated couple who exposed him at the age of six to what would become his passion in life, playing the violin. He played  with orchestras and mainly quartets and very well may have become a professional violinist but chose to get his education to become an independent mechanical engineer.

Being the wild child I was, Jack could very well have chosen to keep me at arm's distance, understandably, but he didn't. Instead, he opened up a whole new world to me and took me to my first ballet: Swan Lake. I've never in my life seen anything more amazing and spectacular than that! Another time he took me to a Free Concert in the Park, at Golden Gate Park, where you can walk around and take in different performing art stages. Amazing! My point is, he took the time to show me love and exposed me to a whole other world more positive than the one I was in.

Now I'd  like to say it turned my life around and I went on the straight & narrow, but that would come WAY later, along  with a lot of hard knox  on the way, and Jack was always there to support me with love, never giving up on me.

Today, more than twenty years later, you'll be glad to know I HAVE changed my evil ways and I AM on the straight & narrow. But now Jack needs me. Now it is my turn to be there for him. Sure, it would be easier for me to let someone else do all the work in a nursing home . . . by himself . . . without loved ones . . . maybe even pass on in the night without having anyone to say goodbye to. . . . But I feel he is too good of a man to deserve that. He deserves BETTER. That is why I chose to become his caregiver. He may have come into this world starting life as an orphan, but he needs to know how much he is loved when he leaves.

[Ms. Pacheco notified us that Jack passed away the morning of Friday, January 16, 2015.]

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