My paternal grandpa was tough as nails and stood tall with broad shoulders and rough, calloused hands. He was always quick to offer a friendly (but firm) handshake and always appeared fit. He seemed invincible to me. According to him, there was a right and wrong way to do anything. Even when he was "relaxing" at his favorite fishing hole, he was always deliberately and passionately focused on whatever he was doing. When he wasn't tinkering in his garage or preparing to go fishing, he could be overheard playing his organ (self-taught), playing card games with family members, and closing out each day by reading his bible cover to cover alongside my grandma. He was a man of simple pleasures and led a quiet and reserved existence. For as long as I knew him, the most important things were faith, family, and fishing. Understandably, his Alzheimer's diagnosis was very unsettling. Playing cards went from fun competition to confusion and misunderstanding. His struggle became more prevalent when performing routine tasks, recalling names of grandkids, or navigating the halls of his retirement home. Sadly, his story is not unique and for many who serve in the role of caregiver, they know all to well the ironic struggle of preserving good memories while quietly cursing the disease as it steals the memory of the loved ones in their care.
I'm a proud employee of The Hartford and I'm joining the Stag Stride team and walking in honor of my late grandpa, Willis G. Schmidt.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
I have raised