is participating to honor:
My family has unfortunately had quite a history with this disease. My Grandpa Clyde, Grandpa Leo, and then finally my Dad, Jim, all fought to keep the memories they made throughout their lives! They were all amazing men with so much love in their hearts! There are many great aunts and uncles who have also unfortunately passed on having fought Alzheimer's as well.
My father was a strong, unselfish, and caring man. He was a carpenter most of his life, owning his own business and working with his hands. He was good at his job and took a lot of pride in his work. He also spent a lot of time remodeling my parent's home, which is the oldest home in Massena, so you can imagine how much love and work went into that house. In later years he worked for the US Postal Service as a rural mail carrier. He was dedicated to his Catholic faith and St. Patrick's Church in Massena. He spent quite a bit of time at his parent's home and always did what he could to help with his father, who passed away from Alzheimer's as well. Dad enjoyed golfing, camping, fishing, and the horse races with his family and friends. He was a true Yankee fan and Elvis was always playing loudly in our home!
Dad started showing signs of Alzheimer's in his early 60's. He had the "Early Onset" type. His memory held on longer than his ability to communicate with us. His word recall was early to go, eventually ending with memory loss and physical body organ system loss. It's a confusing disease with so many turns and bumps along the way. We were able to stay at home with my Dad until his death. Not many families have that "luxury", but my mom was determined to care for him in the home that they built together.
My mother is an amazing woman with strength I hope to have someday. She lost her father to the disease and then faced the same journey with her husband. Being a caretaker is a frustrating, loving, horrible, beautiful, maddening, peaceful, and never-ending job. I say "job", however my mom never felt it that way. It was just a different way of life for her and dad. "For better or worse"...I suppose the Alzheimer's was the "worse" part, but in many ways we saw a side of my dad that we may not have seen without the vulnerability this disease promotes. He was always loving, but so much more compassionate and open to us. We were lucky to see a changing personality so sweet and tender.
He was graceful and generous with his disease. It never seemed to "own" him....it just changed his path. He definitely suffered and so did anyone who loved him. It is a painful journey and as my dad, and eventually his family always said, "it is what it is"! It is my mission to change "it is what it is" to "it is what is WAS". On August 12th, it will be four years that we lost such an amazing husband, dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. I feel compelled to be a part of the fight! After spending many years with him on his Alzheimer's journey, I can't imagine not "fighting" to help with this debilitating disease. It is unexplainable what a family goes through to watch day after day the life being taken away from someone you cherish without anything you can do. No medicine, no rehabilitation.... nothing! Simply said...that's why we fight!
The early onset type Alzheimer's has a strong genetic prevalence, so for my siblings, myself, and my daughters, I promise to work as hard as I can to help in research and awareness to find a cure for this life-changing disease. I have numerous friends who are going through similar situations with parents and grandparents. They are who we are fighting for as well!
God bless you all and may your days, months, and years be full of memories never to be erased or forgotten! Much love and blessings!
Join us at Waubonsie Station, August 17th to raise awareness and funds for research!
The music will be amazing, as multiple musicians are donating their time and talents for the event!
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