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Growing up Roberts

Meet my Dad.

January 19, 1954, my Dad, Charles Geren Roberts, made his debut into this world.

Was he not the cutest stinkin’ little baby?  My goodness he was adorable.  He was born to Dwight (Granddad) and Gerry (Granny) Roberts in Oakland, California while my Granddad was stationed there during his time in the Navy.  They were from central Illinois, and after Dad was born they moved back to raise their family on a farm in rural Gifford.

My Dad as a toddler on the farm
Susan, Dad, Steven, Linda

 

My dad was the oldest of five kids.

He grew up with two sisters, Linda and Susan, and a little brother, Steven.  Later in life, when my dad was older, my grandparents adopted a little girl, Jennifer.  They grew up on a farm outside of town where my dad enjoyed being outside and playing in the hay mow.  (Although, I’m not sure how much he enjoyed playing in the hay mow after jumping out of it one time and having a pitch fork go through his leg! Ouch!) He was active in 4-H and raising animals, in particular a black and white steer.  You could always find an animal running around whether it be a cat, dog, horse, pony, sheep, chicken, cow, or even an occasional pig.  After school the kids would all saddle up and while the “city kids” took off on their bikes, Dad and his siblings would go for a trail ride.  Dad would take Buddy, Linda took Ginger, and Susan would hop on Penny.   He loved playing basketball and football and was just your typical boy, rough housing with his siblings.

But, from the very beginning, God and Family were always of the utmost importance to the Roberts family.

 

Front row: Steven, Cathy, Brian 2nd Row: Arlene, Dad, Linda, Susan 3rd Row: Tom, Carol, David
Dad with his siblings and cousins

 

The ornery one up there…. yea, that’s my Dad.  And I wonder where my son, Brock, gets it.

Back row: Carol, Grandpa, Grandma Hogue, Tom Front Row: Susan, Linda, Steven, Dad
Dad with his cousins and siblings with Grandpa & Grandma Hogue celebrating Easter

 

Dutch, Gerald, baby Tracy, Genny, Dwight, Gerry 2nd Row: Dad, Linda, Rhonda, Steven, Susan
My Dad with his Granddad, Aunt, Uncle, Parents, Cousins, and Siblings

 

As I was sitting here looking at these pictures, wondering who some faces belonged to, I got to thinking, I wish I knew more about my Dad’s time as a boy.  I know about his time as “My Dad,” but I wish I knew more.  Why didn’t I ask him to tell me more stories?  Why didn’t I have him write things down so I could look back on his memories and  picture him riding Buddy or dodging mice in the hay mow?  Or at least just so I could trace his letters with my fingers and feel closer to him knowing he penned the words on the page.  Do you ever do that?  You get a card in the mail and you just want to feel the writing and know that the sender had their hands right there on that spot and feel closer to them?  Maybe it’s just me.  I’m weird.

When my Dad was in the early stages of the disease, he could still remember times from his childhood.  He couldn’t tell me about what he did earlier that day, but ask him about a time out on the farm and he was quick to tell a story.

I share this post because I want you to get to know my Dad, I want to share his story.

Not only am I hoping to help other families navigate this disease, I want to set the scene for you, share with you who my Dad was… as a boy, as a man, as a Dad…

Before Alzheimer’s.

 

 

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Navigating Alzheimer’s Disease – The Blog

Heather & Geren Roberts
Heather with her Dad, Geren Roberts

 

Meet my Dad, Charles Geren Roberts.

He loved God, he loved his family, and he loved life.

But that life was robbed of him after being officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2013.  We had no idea what we were getting into, what the future would hold, or where this journey would take us.  You would think we would have had some idea of what to expect as my Dad’s dad and his dad each had suffered from the disease, three generations of first born Roberts males each diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but we did not.  What we would soon learn is that my dad was definitely not the norm, which probably isn’t shocking to anyone that knew him, but is there really  a norm with Alzheimer’s?

They say hind sight is 20/20.  So many what if’s.  What if he had eaten better? What if he had kept a regular sleep schedule? What if he had exercised more? What if he hadn’t been in a high stress job?  What if he had gone to the doctor sooner?  What if he hadn’t been so stinkin’ stubborn?!  These are just a few of the initial questions we would ask, but as the months would progress, we would begin to develop more questions that I hope to get into with this blog in the hopes that we can help any other families out there navigating this awful disease.

I wish my Dad could have been the first survivor of Alzheimer’s, but sadly that would not be the case.

He fought.

He fought hard.

He was always hopeful that he was going to win, that he’d beat this disease, and now, since he cannot, I will continue that fight for him.

I hope you will join me as we Navigate Alzheimer’s.