Chicago

Family honors grandfather found lifeless, raises Alzheimer’s awareness

In the years earlier than dropping his reminiscence, Jose Arevalo, 83, would nonetheless dedicate a few of his favourite norteño melodies to his spouse.

“La Prieta Linda,” stated his spouse, Berta Ruiz, 64, with a delicate smile. “The pretty dark-skinned girl.”

Though Arevalo — or Don Lupe, as most name him — lost his reminiscence by the years, he by no means forgot her: the girl he met almost 50 years in the past and the one who took care of him by the nice and dangerous occasions.

The grandfather of 11 was recognized with Alzheimer’s illness in 2014. Although it progressed slowly, the final two years have been extraordinarily tough for the household, his spouse stated. But not as soon as did it cross their thoughts to place him in a nursing dwelling.

“We love him so much, and I said I would take care of him until I couldn’t anymore,” Ruiz stated in Spanish.

On Tuesday morning, Don Lupe was found lifeless in North Riverside after going lacking on Dec. 1, when he walked out the again door of his dwelling in Berwyn. Community members from throughout Berwyn and all the way in which to Little Village rallied to assist seek for him after his daughters pleaded for the general public to assist discover him.

Despite the tragic finish to the search and their grief, the household stated that Don Lupe has already left a mark on this world: Their determined name for assist has raised awareness of Alzheimer’s illness and the way in which it impacts households. That has given his household consolation and power to cope with their loss.

“In a way, it has given us some peace,” Amanda Arevalo, one among his daughters, stated. “Who would have known that such a tragedy would be able to help other families dealing with the disease?”

A photo of Jose Arevalo sits on a table near his belongings during a vigil for Arevalo, 83, who was found dead Tuesday after he was reported missing the previous week.

In the early phases of the illness, Don Lupe agreed to donate his brain to the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, his spouse stated. Now his household is planning to donate any money that’s left from their fundraiser for funeral prices to that group. According the health worker, Don Lupe died of heart problems, and his method of dying was pure.

“It’s a cruel illness,” Ruiz stated. It was painful to lose her life associate little by little and whereas he sat subsequent to her, she stated. There have been sleepless nights when she needed to watch him and ensure he wouldn’t go away the home or damage himself.

Most occasions, although, Don Lupe would say he wanted to go dwelling.

“‘This is our home,’ I would tell him,” stated Ruiz, however Don Lupe would insist on leaving.

While he was lacking, the household thought possibly he would attempt to hint again his steps to the Little Village storage that served as his mechanic store for greater than a decade and the place the place he would spend most of his time.

Little Village grew to become dwelling to him and his household — Ruiz and their three daughters — after he immigrated to Chicago from Monterrey, Mexico, in 1974. But over 20 years in the past, the household moved to Berwyn.

Even after he was recognized with Alzheimer’s, Don Lupe nonetheless tried to repair vehicles and play the lottery, his spouse stated. He refused to just accept the brand new actuality. Through the reminiscence loss, he nonetheless smiled.

“He always made jokes — about everything,” Arevalo stated. That’s one factor she discovered from him, she stated. “To take life lightly and work hard.”

A self-taught mechanic, Don Lupe at all times inspired his daughters to go to highschool and get a level. It was one among his objectives, Ruiz stated.

Their three daughters all attended faculty and have a job they take pleasure in.

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But Don Lupe didn’t solely take care of his three daughters — he additionally mentored younger boys in Little Village, taking them beneath his wing and instructing them what he might about fixing vehicles.

He was disturbed by the variety of younger youngsters going into gangs, so he did what he might to maintain them out of bother, Arevalo stated.

Though he was at all times a great man, his spouse stated, she was nonetheless shocked on the quantity of people that have supported the household — first within the search and now as they prepare to put him to relaxation.

But the assist goes past the Arevalo household. Don Lupe’s reminiscence is now serving to others study to like these with Alzheimer’s, and to be extra empathetic and understanding of them and those that take care of them, Arevalo stated.

“Take care of your elders,” she stated.

After years of trying to go away, Ruiz stated she is glad that her life associate, Don Lupe, is lastly at his dwelling, resting.

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