I'm leading the way to Alzheimer's first survivor by participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's - including Nanny - and that number is expected to grow to as many as 14 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
My grandmother, Dorothy Lonergan, also known as Nanny, was one of the strongest people I know. It's been devastating to see her impacted by Alzheimer's. It hurts when she calls me Sweetheart because she doesn't remember who's on the phone mid-conversation. It breaks my heart that she's not well enough to live on her own. It's been terrifying that she's in a nursing home during COVID-19 when nursing homes have become epicenters for the virus.
Earlier this week, on the morning of September 13th, Nanny let her nursing home staff know that it was her time. She was surrounded by family - Uncle Billy, Aunt Maria, my cousin Kelty, Aunt Kathy, and Uncle Al, with my Mom dialed in on video. They prayed, listened to Frank Sinatra, and told her we would be okay and she could leave and see my grandfather and all our loved ones waiting for her. I was able to call and say goodbye to her and tell her I loved her.
That tough lady from Brooklyn held on a bit and at left at 6:17pm…the same time my grandfather died. We know she heard and felt all of the love. We are very sad but relieved she is now with Poppa.
The family is making arrangements for a memorial and a funeral mass at some point in the future when we can all be together. For now, they've asked that in lieu of flowers, people donate in my grandmother's honor to our fundraising efforts. This year, it's more important than ever.
She was an incredible woman. She raised 4 kids and 8 grandkids. She has a gaggle of great-grandkids she never got a chance to meet. She worked in school cafeterias and loved it. She loved Frank Sinatra, Law & Order, and chicken nuggets. She was sharp as a tack, funny, and - as she would say - she's a good egg. So much of the good in my life has come from her influence over our family - the least we can do is work to help end the disease that impacted her life.
Together, we can end Alzheimer's disease. Please make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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