This was a tough week. After 10 long years my beloved sister Jan lost her battle with Alzheimer's. She was loved by so many and we are heartbroken and yet so relieved that her longest days are over.
My sister and I were very close, despite our 18 year age difference, despite the distance of our lives -- we always just clicked. We finished each other's sentences. We talked for hours on the phone. She was a dear sister and somewhat of a mother figure to me as well.
Her son and I are 3 years apart. As a kid I always counted the days until summer. I couldn't wait because I knew I'd get to go and stay at her house. She'd take us to the pool, let us play tennis and or would pack a picnic and take us to the beach or NASA or a museum. Those were idyllic summers. Jan was nurturing, a great cook and fun to be with. She was wise and beautiful and I grew up wanting to be just like her.
As an adult she was there for me when my son was a week old and I was so sleep deprived I could barely walk. When we had to make the tough decision to move our mother to an assisted living she was there to calm mom's nerves. She had that gift. She was a peacemaker.
I was lucky enough to work from Houston a lot and would stay at her home instead of a hotel. I loved to stay with her because you always felt surrounded by her warmth. She made you feel special. She had the best coffee, great food, soft sheets.
We were blessed to be able to travel together to Italy twice. On the 2nd trip she kept asking me where we were. I knew something was terribly wrong.
As the disease took over, she lost her beautiful life one blow at a time--first with forgetfulness, then confusion, anger, lashing out, and finally complete obliteration of the mind. She was no longer my sweet, gentle, kind, incredibly smart sister but a shell of the person. It was horrible to watch and she would have hated it.
Now she's gone and she's left a huge gaping hole in my heart. With Alzheimer's you really lose the person twice--once when they no longer know you and then again when they die. I know she's in a better place and am comforted to know she's free but I feel her loss keenly.
I don't have any answers for how to handle this horrible disease but what I do know is we have to find a cure before we have to watch more of our loved ones or ourselves lose who we are.
Together, we can end Alzheimer's disease. Please make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. Let's end this in our lifetime so others won't have to fight like Jan did. She fought to her last breath. Rest in peace sweet sister. 9/23/2019
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
I have raised