We would like to share our Families, Staff and Caregivers testimonials over the years at Applewood Our House. We have many wonderful families, friends, caregivers, community testimonials that we are happy to share…
The Sexton Family…
Some have thought John was my dad. The daughters have been asked if he is their grampa. Once John said to me, “Get out of my way old lady.” I told him he shouldn’t go there…He does look older after six years of the disease, white hair, thin, head down, but then he sees someone, his eyes open wide, a slight smile, then it’s gone.
I always want to defend John Sexton because he is a remarkable man. And sometimes to others I do. In this state, one would not know of his incredible contribution in others’ lives and to life itself. They wouldn’t know that as a pediatric dentist he treated 14,000 children, 6,000 of which were HIV. He led teams to Cambodia,Romania, and Uganda to set up dental clinics and treat these children that had never been seen. John took such care & time with parents and kids in the practice. Yet now, he may not know that his grandchildren, Ryder (3) & Maxine (1) come to see him. However, he smiles at them and senses they’re a child which he favors.
One wouldn’t know that he began his career as a H.S. biology teacher. He even got a bus driver’s license and a bus so he could take the students up to the mountains to learn biology and build snow caves to learn winter survival. Yet now he won’t keep shoes & socks on and wants to go outside barefoot in the snow. However, when outside he can run slowly on the sidewalk and he doesn’t trip over a chair as he wanders through his home. I tell many, in the midst of all John was doing, he, we as a family built a ranch that we’ve run now for 20 years. He raised registered Angus, did artificial insemination. He learned about soils and raised quality hay. He let so many experience the workings of a ranch and equipment and animals. It was his favorite place as John is a worker. He sees pictures, but there is no response. However, I asked him recently to just snap back to answer one question for me…”Should I put the organics on the soil?”
Wandering along, head down, he softly, slightly said, “Do it.”
John entered Applewood Our House two some years ago. He walked in wearing dress wool slacks & a starched shirt, his usual work outfit. Today he is in sweats, a t-shirt, barefoot. At first he shaved every day, handsome, then I or others shaved him. Now he has a mustache and beard as his skin is very sensitive. It hurts to be shaved. A beard is softer. He’s still handsome. At first, we went out all the time, to eat, movies, drives, church. Slowly, he became restless in a restaurant, confused in a theater, turning the ice cream upside down in the car or just sleeping against the window. However, several months ago on a drive, John held up his fingers in the “I love you” gesture and said his nickname for me, “Rose”.
The disease of Alzheimer’s is very confusing. It presents so many variations. When John first arrived at Applewood, I was often asking, “Are you sure he belongs here?” For me, it was somewhat out of guilt, not remembering how hard and dangerous the four years were at home in the disease, and just not knowing. There and continually is where the directors and staff come in.
This is the most difficult walk ever, so many questions, so much grieving and then one has the people walking beside us who know. I have found at each turn from recognition to very little, conversation to mumbling & quiet, calm to extreme agitation in tearing up his room, capable in physical habits to urinating anywhere, eating with utensils to using fingers, there has been someone to help me realize it’s the disease and really, these pieces of difficult change are OK. They don’t matter to John, but standing hugging him, a back rub, sitting while he sleeps on my shoulder, kind words…those matter. We family members always say we don’t know how our directors and their staff do their jobs. I have watched how they love on, genuinely love the residents, besides take care of ALL of their needs. They give them respect and dignity.
Sheryl has talked to me about each step and what to expect. They always say they too have questions and all residents are different, but having years of experience taking care of them, they really do know. I trust that knowledge. I never like when people say, “Oh, John’s not the man you married now.” “That man’s gone.” I understand it to be one of those cliches of life…and answer for some.
Most important to John is his faith, his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His parents were our Sunday school teachers at age 5. We’ve been married 38 years and he is the same man I married so long ago. Grieving…the pain is such a long process. For our two daughters it is very difficult to watch their strong, incredible father leaving us. They depended on him and have worked with him all their lives. However, they too rally as touching him, talking to him in familiar voices, setting a grandchild on his lap, just hanging out, I believe he senses he’s loved. Our son-in-laws and many friends have come alongside. Of course life takes them to their own and then there are a small number that will follow John to the end.
The end…it is coming with this disease. There too the staff will be there. Sheryl will walk us through what we can only imagine now. When the LORD comes for John, John will hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”I always say, “He’s crazy, but I’m crazy about him.” Barb.
What a beautiful video…course my eyes are blurred from tears watching it. We cannot get over the care our John gets.. and everyone else! It is overwhelming & wonderful! Thank you all!
The staff is so spilled out for difficult care of each one and each family member And each guest visitor. You all genuinely love each resident. They told me recently that my John is the king in the house, he can sleep anywhere he wants…we sure know that’s true as we’ve found him curled under a blanket in many beds. Well, I guess he is the king as he’s the only guy left.
Sometimes the “women’s group” will say, “He’s a handsome man.” They still recognize that. We do too.
Thank you for such care & love for him. I am planting fields now & finishing calving AND am on call for there.
Kendra has been there every day after work and we face time. She has cared for her dad in hard ways for a daughter, but she loves him so much and is determined to help. I sometimes think it’s too much, but she’ll never regret it.
Our hearts just keep breaking over and over, but there’s still his hand to hold. We love him.
Thank you with a deep bow for walking this with us and making John’s life better!! You are an amazing group of individuals with hearts so big and gifted. Applewood Our House IS a home where new memories begin.
I wanted to take a moment and tell you all, thank you for your kind words that poured in after John’s passing.
During this journey, I was very fortunate to come across your family who truly loved their husband and father as strong and as beautiful as all of you did. I will never forget the moments of pure love when Barb would take him out with two different shoes on or his face when Barb would walk in. Cora trying to show John where to use the restroom. Kendra, to love your Dad so much and to feel the strong need for your babies to know him. Your husbands crying at their father-in laws bedside. John laughing and chasing children in the house or holding my own children on his lap. Your family including John are an amazing family and we all feel so blessed we got to witness/join you in his journey.
During his last days, I felt this tremendous gratitude towards all of you and John for teaching me so many lessons about life and love. I know this is said a lot but I am truly grateful for the opportunity to take care of John during his last couple of years. The house and our lives seem a little dimmer without him. He always had such a kind smile and a soft touch to brighten your day. His picture hangs above the fireplace as a reminder of what love is…to give or receive. Once again, thank you all for sharing your journey with us.
I love you all
I just wanted to thank everyone at Applewood Our House for their great service and for the loving support you gave my dad for the short time he was with you. Everyone treated him with love and respect. He touched many of your hearts and I really appreciate all you did.
His service was wonderful. The military played taps and we received a flag. We played Alan Jackson’s “Remember When” and “Amazing Glace”. Everyone lite a sparkler because my dad loved the 4th of July and the kids rang bells in celebration. It was all very nice, I think he would of been proud.
We will miss him dearly but he will always be in our hearts.
Thank you again.
Friends at Applewood,
I wanted to say thank you so much for taking such wonderful care of my dad, Dwayne. I still remember meeting Cheryl for the first time and sitting on the bench to explain our family story. I knew immediately that Applewood was the place for him. It was a difficult transition for him and me, but I knew he was in the best possible place. Your staff was so caring and compassionate. They treated him as though he was family.
During his last few hours, Ed and Buffy went beyond any expectations . I am so thankful . Even though her shift was over, Buffy sat with me with me until my sister got there. That meant so much to me. Ed was there on a moments notice. Our family will never forget the kindness you gave to our dad and us.
It was such a wonderful evening for everyone. I will cherish these memories forever. I can’t believe my mother is 100 years old – she is very strong. I want to thank you and everyone else from Appliewood who helped in this spectacular celebration. It meant the world to me and my mother. The pictures are so wonderful and I will add them to my special album of memories with my mother. Thank you so much.
The Clark Boys
New Jersey wasn’t easy for the Clark boys. Impoverished and unprepared for parenthood, their mom and dad’s relationship seemed to be centered around a cycle of anger abuse, and neglect. As the years went by and the family slowly dissolved, some grown-up faces changed. But, the abuse and pain only escalated.
Through it all, the three little brothers knew little else, but they stuck together and always had each other. They protected each other. They made it work….Bud was the serious and focused one, the big brother and the protector. Bill was the quiet, compliant giver who healed us with his dry sense of humor and impish grin. Bobby was the handsome, animated jokester-athlete, whose antics always brightened our day.
As they grew, each brother devised, or fell into, a different method to cope or escape. Bud left home early to take his chances elsewhere. He shut the door on the past and never looked back. Eventually, he found his way to Colorado.
Unable to escape, Bobby became lost alcohol. He kept it all hidden behind his sense of humor and magnetic personality. Bobby died at the age 53.
Billy had a much different plan. He decided that he would get as far away on earth as possible. At 17, he joined the Army. For awhile, it worked. Then, three days after his 18th birthday, he arrived in Vietnam. A little over a year later, disabled and barely 19 years old, the Army sent him home to resume that same life of prolonged and continued neglect. The next 37 years took a terrible toll on his body, his spirit and his soul. That’s the way that Bud found him when mom died in February of 2011. Shortly afterward, Billy was almost reunited with Bobby when he became disoriented and lost. He nearly succumbed to winter exposure. It was time to change the course of Billy’s journey.
Friends and strangers alike were mobilized to help. Some Billy knows, and some he never will. We thank them all. Although it took nearly eight months, and plenty of effort on the part of those who love him, Billy came to Colorado in October of 2011 to live at Applewood Our House in Golden, Colorado. Since then, he has gotten the attention he needs and deserves to correct long-standing health and emotional issues. He is finally among people who are attentive, trustworthy, caring, and friendly enough to end his darkness.
Enjoying Festivities at Applewood Our House
He lives among a new set friends and very near to his family. Today he pitches in to protect and comfort others. They call him everything from “Mister Helpful” to the “Christmas Light Guy”. None of this would have been possible for Billy without the help, love, commitment, and a strong partnership between his new home and his family. Topping it all off is a tiny little bundle of K-9 devotion named “Lela” who simply will not leave his side.
Billy will never be fully whole, but he is rapidly coming back to nearly what he was so many years ago. His health, attitude, engagement and appearance are improving daily. His hunched- over shuffle has now been replaced by a smoother, more erect and confident step. Today, he looks forward, not down at his feet. He says “hi” to everyone he meets, and that familiar, boyhood, impish grin and sense of humor have returned.
Welcome back, Billy. We missed you.
“Hey Bud, Can I stay at Applewood forever?” – Billy (Dec 2011)