She didn't remember us or her life. So I wrote her a note to share some of her life. I walk so that people don't have to learn about their lives from a letter.
The past few years you found yourself waking up in a different room every morning, in a home that you did not recognize. Although you did not always realize it, you were being cared for by your family the entire time. The people in this home were kind. They fed, clothed, and loved you but they were not your Mom or Dad or one of your siblings. You often felt bad that you were not visiting with your Mother or helping her out in the gardens or on the farm. You were an independent woman who was ahead of your time. You were not afraid to try new things or to travel and embrace new adventures.
While Alzheimer's may have robbed you of your memories, you lived a remarkable life that none of us will ever forget. We would like to share with you, about you and your wonderful life.
You turned down an art scholarship to a Chicago College so that you could share your love of knowledge with future generations. You attended Marinette Teachers College. Wearing a blue skirt to a college social, you caught the eye of a handsome gentleman named Bill. He asked you to dance to the Blue Skirt Waltz and that began a 60 plus year love.
You taught in a single room school house until a crisp Thanksgiving morning when you and Bill continued that waltz by getting married.
Embracing travel and new cultures, you and Bill started your married life at Campwood - Yuma, Arizona. Dolores, the first of your seven brilliant children, arrived. Adventures in travel continued, bringing you back to Wisconsin where Theresa, Arlene, and Rose arrived. Then to Minnesota where you juggled marriage, raising four active little girls and substitute teaching. You even taught one of your daughter's classes. A move back to Wisconsin brought you to Green Bay where Mary Beth, Mark, and Carol completed your family. You made history at one hospital for being the first woman to have her husband in the delivery room.
Your love of education continued throughout your life. You taught upholstery and chair caning. Your love of gardening led you to be a Master Gardener with the UW Extension office.
You sewed outfits for your children, sewed and altered wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses. You learned to spin and dye wool and then knitted hats, mittens, and blankets.
You provided for your family with vegetable gardens and canning, teaching those talents to some of your fourteen grandchildren. You successfully captured the recipe for Perogies from Bill's Polish (only) speaking Grandmother and made Belgian pies for church picnics.
You never met a stranger who did not become a friend. Your love of travel sent you touring to gardens across the country with your Master Gardener friends.
As this ugly disease advanced, your memories may have faded but your heart remained true. You were always willing to share your lunch or a blanket. Your love for your family was there to the very end as you waited until all your children could say good-bye in person, before leaving on your next big adventure. Your heart will always know Bill. You would always say of Bill, "I got the best one." But in truth, we were the ones who got the best one
I walk for my mother knowing that a cure is too late for her I walk for my 80 some year old father as he cares for his wife.
I walk for my mothers siblings. That they may always remember. I walk for my cousins and their children that they may always be remembered.
I walk for my siblings I love them all and want to remember them.
I walk for my children. I want their calls to be catching up on each others lives, not brainstorming to see what can be done to make life easier and less confusing for the parents.
I walk for my future grandchildren ( which had better not be for a while). I do not want them having to sit and entertain me so that Grandpa Rich can get a haircut.
I walk for memories the good and the bad that they may all be saved.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
I have raised