OM for ALZ
There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's today. Six years ago, my Mother became one of them. It's estimated that by 2050, the number could be 16 million. Alzheimer's kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. While deaths from heart disease have dropped by 14% since the year 2000, deaths from Alzheimer's have increased by 89%.
Prior to her diagnosis, my Mother was my best friend on this earth. She was the first person I called with good news, the first I called with bad news. She was the person I called when I needed advice, or a shoulder to cry on. She was my person. When my sister and I were young, my Mother was the most hands on of mothers. From hand-making our Halloween costumes, to throwing us magical birthday parties, shuffling us to and from swim practice, to singing us to sleep at night, she did all the things you would want/expect any good Mother to do. I might add, she did it all with a smile on her face, a giant dose of enthusiasm, and a seemingly endless amount of energy. She was a devout church goer, and I never once heard her utter a swear word, or saw her take even a sip of alcohol. (Clearly I inherited my love of drinking and swearing from my Dad.) She was the definition of a Saint. She had a gigantic heart, and was always helping those less fortunate. In the summers, my sister and I were often along for the ride as she delivered Meals on Wheels. She loved a good musical and could most likely recite The Sound of Music word for word, along with Music Man, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof and countless others. She loved her family hard and put up with a lot from my Dad in order to keep us together. She was there the day I became a Mother, and helped me keep it together through those early years when I was juggling two babies of my own. We didn't always see eye to eye on things, but she was always in my corner, cheering for me. I could come to her with any problem, any mess that I had made, and she would lovingly listen to me, and try to help me solve it, completely devoid of judgment. And let me tell you, I made some big messes in my teens and early 20s. It is this lack of judgment that she always offered people that is the most awe inspiring thing about my Mother. I've yet to meet anyone else on this earth who was more loving, and less judgmental than my Mother.
Six years into her journey with Alzheimer's, these memories are all gone for my Mother now and while she still finds joy in her daily life, watching America's Funniest Home Videos, or singing show tunes at her Memory Care Facility, she has been robbed of the joy of getting to live out her days enjoying her children and grandchildren. My sister and I have lost our Mother, and I have lost my best friend.
I've spent enough time processing this loss and am now ready to do something about it. While I cannot do anything to save my own Mother, I can try to raise some money to fund Alzheimer's Research, and maybe help save someone else's. With that in mind,I am participating in The Longest Day by holding a Yoga Class in conjunction with The Alzheimer's Association of Greater Cincinnati on Saturday, June 9th at Smale Park at 9am. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
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