So the question was asked...Why do I walk?
Why do I walk?
Why do I walk?
I walk because I must
I walk for our lovely and charming friend and neighbor, Hap Nickerson
I walk for my mother, Ruth whom I loved dearly
I walk for Bonnie and her Mom and her Dad
I walk for Vic and Terry and his Father
I walk for Janet and Carol
I walk for all of the millions of people who have been stricken with this disease
I walk for those that cannot walk anymore
I walk for those who have no voice
I walk for the caregivers who can no longer see the light or themselves
I walk for the people that have been robbed by Alzheimer's, losing their friends, their financial security and their very being
I walk for Paula's Mother, Betty
But mostly I walk for Paula
I walk for Paula because she cannot fight this for herself or by herself
I walk for Paula because somewhere in the last 18 months, her personality has evaporated,
has dissipated into thin air and I see my best friend vanishing before my eyes,
being swallowed whole by this disease
You see, I love Paula with all my heart and always will, but she is not the woman I fell in love with
You see, Alzheimer's has robbed me, too
The vows I wrote to Paula are branded in my memory, and I still feel exactly the same way I did when I wrote them to her
"I have loved you my whole life long, and I would rather be at your side than anywhere else in the world"
She is my heart, she is my compass, she is my anchor, she is my best friend
She is my Martha, she is my Poolah, she is my Mergatroid,
She is my Tilly, she is my Clara, she is my Sweet Love
And at the end of the day, and at the end of our journey,
much like the incredible book, "Still Alice",
about a woman with Alzheimer's disease,
written from Alice's own perspective,
she is and always will be, Still Paula
This journey has brought us closer together with a renewed and deepened kind of spirituality and intimacy then we had enjoyed previously, or even envisioned
We both feel truly blessed to have the best family and friends that one could ask for
So, hug your loved ones extra hard tonight and give them an extra kiss
As one of my uncles used to say, "What the heck, it can't hurt and it may even help a little."
Will you walk with us?
Thank you for joining the movement!
Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease. Join the fight with us and share our vision of a world without Alzheimer's.
With love from Cheryl and Paula
Authored by Cheryl L. Gagne, and dedicated lovingly to her wonderful partner of 35+ years, Paula Collier, aka Miss Paula.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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