“Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things,” said Roman statesman Cicero. That sums it up well. We all have those treasured recollections that we like to hold in our minds from time to time. We also know that our memories guard us from repeating mistakes and guide us to choose the path of wisdom.
That is why it is so hard on friends and family alike when Alzheimer’s takes away a loved one’s treasured thoughts. While we can remember the good times we had together, the one suffering often does not, and often does not even recognize us. The five Linn brothers know the pain of watching their mother, Irene, slip slowly away into her own mind.
Life had not been easy for “the boys,” as their mom lovingly refers to them. On a Saturday in 1992, their father, Ron, went out on the family farm to check on the animals. When he did not return, Irene went to look for him. She found him crushed to death with a bull still on top of him. She was devastated.
One of the brothers, Steve, recalled her actions in the years following that accident. “Somehow, mom held it together. She worked, made all of our sporting events, and hauled us around. Whatever we had to do, she did it.”
When Irene began suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s, the brothers again felt a great sense of loss. As if, though still with them, they had lost some of their mom. Like many families, Irene’s condition was difficult for the family to handle.
Then, one sleepless night, Eric remembered something that had always brought the brothers together. It was their dad’s old truck. Eric found the truck under 20 years of dust and grime, and knew he had found a way the family could deal with some of their grief.
The Linn brothers came together as a team and restored their dad’s truck with one idea in mind; they wanted to present it to their mom. After her husband had been taken from them, that old truck was used to get the boys where they needed to go.
After restoring the vehicle and revealing it to their mother, the brothers knew one thing for certain. Just as their mom had kept them all together and moving forward after losing their father, so, too, had this truck kept the family close.
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