Mid-Michigan couple together 64 years despite Alzheimer’s - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan couple together 64 years despite Alzheimer’s

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The Notebook tells the story of an elderly couple whose love overcomes the challenges that comes with Alzheimer’s and it turns out we have our own version here in Mid-Michigan.

Shirley and Kenny Christian have been sweethearts for 64 years.

“I didn’t care for him at all when I first met him, but he was persistent and I grew on him or he grew on me I should say,” Shirley said.

They lived a life filled with camping, fishing, and of course their five beautiful children, until 2006 when Shirley started to notice something was off.

As doctors would soon tell them, Kenny has Alzheimer’s.

“You know me don’t you sweetheart, even though you can’t talk to me anymore you know who I am don’t you,” Shirley said. Kenny nods and Shirley says, “yup, you know who I am.”

Four years ago Kenny moved into Samaritans senior living, separating them for the first time.

But Shirley said that doesn’t change their love, not one bit. She still visits him almost every day.

“Before I leave I always give him a kiss and have prayer with him,” Shirley said. “I just know that he’ll be okay until I come back the next time.”

When she goes back home there’s a bear she keeps on her bed from a Valentine’s Day passed.

“I always have to give it a kiss goodnight and good morning,” Shirley said. “I guess that’s maybe kind of childish in a way but it’s not for me.”

This Valentine’s Day might be spent a little differently.

It won’t be filled with gifts or a fancy dinner, but instead spent with quality time, something Shirley said is what got them this far in the first place.

“He’s just the love of my life that’s all there is to it and he always will be and I’ll be with him as long as I’m able to be,” Shirley said.

For any of those young couples out there that are celebrating Valentines Day together next week, Shirley and Kenny have some wise words of wisdom.

They said their secret to 64 years together is communication and never going to bed angry.

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