Any diagnosis of disease or illness is hard. I know that no one lives forever here on this Earth, but dementia in any of its forms is a cruel thief. The theft by Alzheimer’s is stealing memories from my Grandma. Not all at once. The robbery is slow and meticulous until Sarah cannot remember how to function doing the simplest of tasks that we all, of sound mind, take for granted.
I never expected the thief to target my Grandma. Her mind was always constantly engaged with tasks that she was even keeping straight and remembering for others like Tommy – that’s my sweet Granddaddy. A hard worker, a man with high expectations, ambitious, and the most empathetic caretaker I’ve ever known. When I was young, my Granddaddy opened his wallet to a special compartment to give me some money. I asked him why he had money tucked away there. He said, “I always keep money to the side so that if I run into anyone in need, I always have some help to give that person.”
To all the men in my life – I love you all, unconditionally. But, I must admit, my Granddaddy Tommy is the best man I know. I’ve always thought that. Now, as he takes care of my Grandma, his bride Sarah, I admire and respect him one thousand fold what I did before. Now, it isn’t always pretty. My Grandma has come to school programs with her hair flat and combed over (you know, like how he combs his hair) and sometimes her shoes don’t match. But, I have to give him credit. For the first time, she isn’t laying out his clothes; he’s laying out hers. She isn’t driving him places; he has to navigate. She can’t remember people they meet out in the community (and my Granddaddy still doesn’t know, but he always does a good job of making everyone feel known).
The problem with theft of the mind is that you can’t get it back once its been taken. It’s the ultimate feeling of powerlessness.
Find out more or donate for research here: https://www.alz.org/research