Angela's Walk Donation Page
My father, Steve, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 60. He was a prominent attorney, an attentive father, a loving husband and a fiercely independent man.Alzheimer’s has taken a lot from me, but it is nothing compared to what it has taken from my father. A brilliant man with a vast vocabulary first lost the ability to find his words. He stumbled to pick from his brain the correct word to fit a certain situation. He then had difficulty following along with the legal conversations at work and accomplishing the day-to-day tasks at home that came so easily before. This was followed by a long and arduous journey through which he lost much of his learned mental and physical ability, changing his temperament and behavior. I have watched a small piece of the man I once knew leave him each day for the last 8 years. He currently lives a simple existence at a memory care facility in south Fort Worth, visited often by my mom and his sweet "therapy" dog Nora.
I have heard this disease referred to as "the long goodbye." I have been saying goodbye to my father for years. I miss him every day. I miss asking him for advice. I miss crying on his shoulder. I miss leaning on him when I felt that no one else was on my side. I miss long talks that I am sure now would be filled with parenting advice and commiseration as well as a few, "i told you so" moments from the man who raised me. I miss hearing him speak in full sentences. I miss hearing him say my name. I wish that I had a better memory. My brain can't recall what he sounded like when he was scolding me as a teenager or when he told me he loved me as a child. So much of what I remember is coming from old home videos and dreams that are only partially based in reality.
My son deserves a grandfather who can play with him, watch him grow, and say his name. I was cheated out of the experience of walking down the aisle with my dad. My husband was cheated out of a father in law to share in his love of history and books. My brother and I deserve an adult relationship with him. My mom deserves a partner to share her life with, to make decisions with, and to travel with.
But instead here we are.
I consider myself lucky, however, because I can still hug my dad today. I visited him a few days ago, and he hugged my son and made faces as Hays held his finger. All is not lost, but all is not as it should be. Alzheimer’s has taken a lot from my family, but it has also given us a lot. My father dances with my mom when it was hard to entice him to the dance floor before. We have gained perspective, humility and understanding.
I truly am my daddy’s girl, and I hope some day other children do not have to experience the heartache my family and I have felt. Please consider walking or donating to honor my father and those like him who need us to fight their fight.
If you would like to join the walk itself, please text or call me, Angela, for details.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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