Alzheimers disease is an absolute heartbreak to go through with a loved one but there is some type of feeling that comes with that disease that if you let that feeling enter, you will be able to see and react to the person you no longer know but you've come to know through this backwards disease.
I have two grandmother's who have suffered from the disease, my first grandmother Ruth, she was diagnosed with Alzheimers around October 2019. Her husband had just recently passed away as well so I truly believe the sadness moved the disease along quicker. My parents live in Florida and offered to move her into their house to offer long term care for her. She accepted and by the end of the year, my grandma had moved in with my parents. I was invited to come help out and stay with my grandma because along with the daily duties of caring for someone who is declining from Alzheimers, it was exhausting for my parents to try to keep up as well as keep working everyday but not being able to leave her alone.
I drove up from Indianapolis about every 2 weeks from January to May of 2020. It took incredible patience but I wouldn't trade those last months with my grandma for anything. I was able to first hand see and feel this disease, my grandma was an INCREDIBLE Godly woman, she put her faith in the Lord all of her life and let the Lord lead her. Not a single bad word would ever come out of her mouth and she would offer you the world if you just gave her the chance but with this disease, it almost seemed as if the bitter side became the best of her. I imagine she was angry because she knew there was something going on but couldn't help but let it eat away at her mind and body. Over the 5 months I was able to be with her, I sat with her, walked with her, talked with her, prayed with her and always letting her know she was never alone. I was able to watch her try to reach back into her child hood life, she would constantly say she would need to return home to her mother because her mother would be worried where she was. She would also try to leave out of the front door alot, she would think her house is down the street but everytime we would go walk to "look for her house" she would suddenly ask "where are we?" after just a few short steps.
It was very sad to see my grandmother go through this harsh disease but again, there was some type of new relationship I gained from being with her through this. I, not only had my grandmother by my side everyday but in some way... I truly made a best friend. The conversations we had were nothing I had heard growing up, I found out funny stories about my family growing up and I heard her laugh like she was a little girl. There was a heaven that came out of the depths of this darkness.
She had passed away the day after my 30th birthday, May 9, 2020. She went the day after my birthday and the day before Mother's Day, somehow in her final days... she still knew the exact timing to give us peace.
Her memory lives on and I am thrilled to represent her and my other grandma on this walk.
My other grandma, Nevlin has been struggling for almost 6 years. It's been an incredibly slow decline but my grandpa (her husband) is also in the same facility. I think thats such a blessing itself, they keep eachother company and even though my grandma mostly doesnt recongize my grandpa anymore, he stays by her side every single day. He treats her with the same love and respect they had 60 years ago when they were married. My grandmother, Nevlin has been suffering so long that we have come to love and accept this "new" person. She was the preachers wife, raised her children in a Godly environment and would always share the word of God anywhere she went. My grandpa and grandma are absolute treasures to this world, we are blessed to have such and incredible family who stands on the word of God. She doesn't really remember my sister and I (grandkids) but she will still call out my mom's name (Cathy, her daughter) and of course, any time she calls out for my mother... my mother, even if she is 100 miles away somehow hears that call and shows up right outside of their window just to say "Hi mom, i love and miss you!" My mother has truly shown incredible strength through all of this, her brother and her have watched their mother (Nevlin) slowly decline with the acceptance that unfortunatly, it will never get better. They visit and call constantly and that is absolute blessing for my grandparents.
With Covid-19 still going on, we have only been able to talk through the glass for the past year. I personally have not been able to wrap my arms around my grandparents for almost a year now. It has truly taken a toll on us all but of course, one day and prayer at a time and we will all get through this.
My wish this year is to draw in an even bigger crowd for support! If you know someone who has suffered through this disease, please feel free to join my team and walk with us on the day of the event for support!
You don’t have to live in Indianapolis to be apart of this! You can walk anywhere with us! :) We had an incredible time last year and would love to have you join us over FaceTime, zoom or even a phone call!
Thank you in advance and I can't wait for the 2021 WALK TO END ALZHEIMERS DISEASE and I sure hope you can join me!!
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