My Mom had Parkinson's (with a dementia component)...and my Dad had Alzheimer's. My mom was making some really bad decisions but I didn't recognize it as dementia. It was so different than what my dad was doing; he didn't recognize us anymore, stopped speaking and just stared into the distance on most days. We were fortunate enough to find a good place with a great staff to care for him after mom couldn't anymore.
The day my Mother realized that Daddy didn't know who she was anymore...was the beginning of her end. Two weeks after that realization, on their 51st wedding anniversary...she passed away. To this day, I believe there was a message in the timing. The official cause of death was cardiomyopathy. A broken heart.
Even though Daddy didn't know who my mother was anymore, when he was told that his wife had passed away, it was very clear that his heart broke next. I had never witnessed an expression that wounded in my entire lifetime. It seemed as if the wind had been knocked out of him....as if he couldn't catch his breath, as if he couldn't cry, as if he couldn't vocalize a single sound at all. Just pure anguish. I agonized over that moment (and I still do), because it perfectly illustrated the worst part of this disease...it's cruel randomness. Why now? Why remember NOW?
Eight long months later, my father finally succumbed to Alzheimer's. His family was by his bedside...including me. I had my iPod on his pillow, near his ear...playing their song. I prayed that somewhere between life and death, he would recognize my mom...and they would waltz off together. Finally...together again, just as they should be. In their healthy years, they had THAT kind of marriage...the envy and end goal of every couple who knew them. They were always in love, always holding hands, always making each other laugh...best friends and love birds and always dancing around the house.
I'm walking to help reclaim the future for millions. By participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's®, I'm committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Without this organization, I would have been lost.
Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer's. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.
Thank you for joining the movement! The end of Alzheimer's disease starts with you.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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