Well hello, old friend. I've missed you.
It's interesting how life changes over time. Stories that I want to tell about the children become abandoned in the drafts folder, as the kids are old enough now to have a choice in what gets shared publicly. Things that can be shared get quickly forgotten as the pace of life moves so quickly at times that once bedtime comes, once all the children are sweetly and silently sleeping and the house is still intact, once the feet are propped up on the couch with the laptop in the lap, all the memories of the day are gone. "What was that earlier that I wanted to write about?" I wonder to myself more often than not. Sometimes I remember, and often times I don't. Well intentioned plans to write things down as they happen are displayed by the large number of blank journals with fancy pens, covered in dust.
Day after day until the days become years. And it all goes by so fast, memories lost in a blur of good intentions and blank journal pages.
I've never written about this part of my life before, as privacy and respect are very important to me. I have permission to share with you today though.
My mother has Alzheimer's disease.
Many know this, she is not secretive about it. However, there is a difference between talking to those closest to you about things such as this, and putting out there to all.
She was diagnosed ten or twelve years ago, after years of being told she had an amnesia disorder. She is doing remarkably well, considering how long it has been. But the decline is unavoidable. Alzheimer's leaves no survivors.
As a teen, I watched my mother lovingly care for my grandpa after he was diagnosed with the same disease. I watched him slowly slip away, pieces of him disappearing long before his body eventually failed. They say that Alzheimer's is known as "the long goodbye," and the truth in that statement is something you never fully understand till you have lived it. At the age of twelve, I remember visiting my grandpa in the group home where he lived, and he often thought I was his wife. Grandma had died a few years earlier, but he would sit at the kitchen table, holding my hand, and patting it as he told me he loved me. At the time, I was slightly creeped out ("he's not going to try to kiss me, is he?!?") but I obliged, knowing it would make him happy, and it did.
Now, I'm the daughter, watching my own parent go down the same path. And there is a 50% chance that my own children will walk that path with me. Genetics are a beast sometimes.
Our family is participating in the Walk To End Alzheimer's in September in Everett, WA. I want to raise money to find a cure. I never want to watch my own memories slip away, clouded behind a fog that can't be navigated. I don't want my children to know about their younger years by only what makes it into the dusty journal or from a blog. I want to be there to tell them, and I want to remember.
Will you join us? Please consider donating to the Alzheimer's Association or joining our team. Thanks.
Click here to go to the Walk To End Alzheimer's page, or copy and paste this: http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/WA-WesternandCentralWashingtonState?px=9386064&pg=personal&fr_id=5781