My Grandmother is still very much alive... and while she may not know who I am anymore, that will not deter me from making a difference in the fight to end the disease she has suffered from for years. But our story goes much deeper and is not shared outside of my mother and I until now...
Since I was a young teenager, my Grandmother (aka "Memere") and I have had a rocky relationship. We couldn't connect, I thought she was confusing and aloof. Full transparency, I cut off communication with her because I just couldn't understand the negative things she was saying, and I could not keep up with her wandering mind. I felt annoyed and frustrated and just "did not have time for this on my mental plate," so I asked that we distance ourselves. No communication until I felt it was time, if ever. She would try to talk to me as if everything was fine....like she blocked out my request and I would shoot her back down. Looking back, I was confusing HER. That lasted nearly 10 YEARS until my selfishness and confusion was clarified. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and did her best to keep it hidden for longer than most. While I felt immediate regret, it wasn't about me. Not letting her be involved during the most important years of my life was not only one of the biggest mistakes of my life, it was now 100% irreparable. I started my career, met my wife, got married, had children… and she didn't know me anymore. I'm a fixer....and this was 100% not fixable. Yet I still see her and she asks me if I’m still a good dancer which brings me some joy.
Last month I joined the Alzheimer’s Association Board. Not to right my wrongs, but to make sure care givers have support (like my mom). I just want to have confidence by the time I’m done with my efforts (no matter how small or large) I/we will be closer to always remembering my children and Grandchildren before I leave this place… and guarantee they remember their children and grandchildren.
We will win this.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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