Ten Thousand Joys and Ten Thousand Sorrows
Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle writes a beautiful story of compassion and selfless love for her beloved husband, Hob, in Ten Thousand Joys and Ten Thousand Sorrows–A Couple’s Journey through Alzheimer’s.
After three decades of marriage, they embark on a six-year journey consciously and lovingly through this final chapter of their relationship.
Hob is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 72 and Olivia, age 58, recalls her own mother’s passing from the disease five years earlier.
Their years of meditative practice enable the Hoblitzelles to move toward accepting Hob’s disease as it unfolds while growing better at letting go of our human tendency to hold onto what was. Each day, they strive to live in the here and now as Hob loses memory of his past and his ability to plan for the future. Speaking openly about his experience with the disease, Hob tells Olivia, “This mental loss thing is nature’s way of saying, ‘Stop, be quiet. Don’t give me so much to chew on mentally.'”
All was not peace and acceptance in the Hoblitzelle household. Olivia wakes from wild dreams. She’s caught in a frustrating “cul-de-sac of miscommunication” with a resistant Hob. To cope, she drives somewhere then shouts in the privacy of her car to release her pent-up feelings. Other times, instead of giving into her pain, she takes a counter-intuitive measure; approaching Hob, she asks for a hug–a loving gesture that softens the frustration.
At the end of her journey with Hob, Olivia writes:
He lived…with extraordinary courage, nobility, and humor.
She describes the road they took together:
As we were held in the fire of transformation, we were burned and burnished until the gold of love shone unobstructed between us.
Ten Thousand Joys and Ten Thousand Sorrows includes three appendices-Clear Light Guided Meditation for the Dying, Caring for a Loved One in Death, and Topics for Discussion. The topics deserve our time and honest consideration while the guided meditation is truly illuminating.
During an interview, Olivia expressed her wish that her book, Ten Thousand Joys…, helps and serves as her and Hob’s gift to others facing similar challenges.
I chose to take time to read and digest her gift of experience. As the pages unfolded, I felt drawn to her authentic voice.
Not many can or are willing to do what she did. Each of our lives unfolds in a unique way. For Olivia, her and Hob’s friends, and their two children, witnessing Hob’s journey was life transforming and therefore serves as an inspiration for us.