On April 25, 2018, Kelli Taylor tweeted a precious picture of her parents that quickly went viral. The story behind the photo, however, is truly heartbreaking, but it will make you believe in true love all over again.
In 2013 Kelli’s family got the devastating news that her mom, Phyllis Feener, had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. She had been having trouble performing simple tasks at her job so they turned to medical tests to figure out what was going on.
They thought it was “simple memory loss due to menopause,” but that was not the case. She was only in her early 50s when she was diagnosed.
After receiving her diagnosis, the family began researching treatment options. While dementia is not curable, therapy and in-home care are essential to slow the progression of the neurological condition.
They quickly realized that, eventually, they would need financial help to cover the costs tied to in-home care. That’s when they set up a GoFundMe.
Thankfully, Stan, Phyllis’ husband, was able to work from home to be able to care for her. His love for her is so evident in the way he cares for her and jokes around with her.
For their 33rd anniversary, the couple went to Gatlinburg to enjoy the beautiful Tennessee mountains. This video shows that even though her dementia makes some days really difficult, the good days are still really good.
On April 9, 2018, Phyllis’ daughter, Kelli, updated the GoFundMe announcing that she had officially progressed to stage 7 which is the final stage of dementia. Her communication skills have continued to get worse and they have even seen her have trouble eating and walking.
It’s beginning to get emotionally difficult for those close to her. “One minute she will be smiling and happy, and the next, she will be upset and crying. And in both cases, she isn’t able to communicate why she is feeling what she is feeling. It has been sad and hard,” Kelli wrote.
Because she is officially in stage 7, she is eligible for Hospice care. This gives the family more support through nurses, social workers, and chaplains. It has been a huge relief.
Although things are getting more difficult, there are still good moments for the family to hold on to.
Just a couple weeks after her last update, Kelli tweeted a picture of her parents.
She wrote, “My parents have been married for 34 years. My mom is in the final stages of young onset dementia (diagnosed 5 years ago at 53). My dad cares for her full-time. She doesn’t always remember his name but she knows she is safe with him. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.”
She also posted a link back to the GoFundMe for anyone who wanted to read their entire story. They hope that it can help raise more awareness to this disease that too often robs families of their loved ones.
Many reached out on Twitter to encourage Kelli and she has been overwhelmed with the responses. some have even gone as far to donate money to help pay for her continued care.
The last update reads, “Overall, we are doing okay. Every day gets harder, but the Lord is providing through the generosity of so many kind friends. All of the time spent with mom, the dinners provided, the notes of encouragement, and the money raised have been such a blessing during this difficult time.”
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