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"Arnold left us long ago," said she, "and now his body is, too. This is God's timing. Who am I to stand in the way? 'The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,'" concluded Vera. The doctor reminded the family, that inevitably, Arnold's body would forget how to metabolize food-- no matter what they decided. So Vera gave her permission: there would be no feeding tube. It would only prolong the inevitable. This was Vera's decision. She made it in faith, and in the fear of God.

The next several days were difficult for Vera. She watched as Arnold slipped further and further away, until one night, she received a phone call from Jerome at Mullen-Overholt. It was over. Arnold was gone.

Even in the midst of Vera's tears, she felt a kind of relief-- a relief that only comes after seeing a loved one slowly fade away. Arnold and Vera's long good-bye was finally over.

When news of Arnold's passing had reached the community, Mrs. Jacobs and other well-wishing neighbors arrived at the Overholt house, all bringing casseroles, and other food dishes. Seeing the home was filling with people, Charlie got her father out of the house, for crowds made his condition worse.

Walking hand in hand, Charlie took him away from the houses and streets, to the edge of the Mojave desert. The hot evening June wind gusted around them, as they sat on a large rock, silently looking off into the distance. Chuck seemed content to sit there and listen to the wind, but Charlie's mind was more actively engaged.

She had witnessed, for the first time, the end effects of Alzheimer's Disease, realizing that her Daddy was to go through the same ordeal. Charlie had to face the stark reality of the truth. The teenager wondered how she could prepare Chuck and herself for the future. If she went away to college, as Jerome wanted, who would look after her father? Charlie knew deep in her heart, that if she left, Jerome would place Chuck into a nursing home-- no matter how Vera protested.

But Charlie had an even greater concern. She had known for some time that Alzheimer's Disease could be inherited. Her family had a strong history of the disease, and Charlie was concerned that she might be next. If she became ill as well, who would take care of Chuck, then? Charlie came to the hard conclusion that if she were able to be genetically tested for Alzheimer's, then it would give her the information needed to make informed decisions about her future, and her father's.

Chuck was still not talking. In fact, Charlie wasn't even sure if he understood that his Dad had died. To Charlie, his face seemed to grow more confused with each passing day. One side effect that she was certain was Alzheimer's Disease, was the fact that Chuck was having a difficult time sleeping an entire night through. He would frequently wake up in the middle of the night, and wander about the house. Since Vera was a sound sleeper and Charlie was not, the teenager found herself awake more often than she cared to admit. To aid the situation, Chuck's doctor had prescribed for him a powerful sleep medication, but the side effects were more serious than the ailment, so it was quickly abandoned. Thankfully, the stop sign and curtains on the front door were effectively confining Chuck's night wanderings to the house.

Understandably, most people in Charlie's position react emotionally about the prospect of being tested for Alzheimer's Disease, for there is no known cure. But Charlie felt she had no choice. She decided to become tested sometime after Adam left.

In late May, Adam buried his mother. In early July, he attended yet another funeral. He had little opportunity to reflect over the timing, however, for the tour was to begin next week.

There were many changes and preparations to be made. Since he was going to be living out of a suitcase for the next year, Adam had a lot of sorting and packing to do. It was not uncommon for Charlie to come to work, only to find him going through stacks of boxes that were to be put into storage, while setting aside the things he intended to take with him.

Little by little, Adam's house was being converted into a dormitory and retreat in between engagements-- and Charlie was to be responsible for running it.
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