Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Heartbreak of Alzheimer's

When I was a girl and still living in Utah, our family had some really great friends from church, they were like another set of grandparents to me. My parents trusted them so much that I stayed with them when I was five and my parents had to keep going back & forth to California because my paternal grandmother was dying. Their names were Bertha & Monroe, they were loving, kind and generous. I never, ever heard a cross word come from either one of them. Imagine my distress, several years later, when we had moved to Colorado & we heard that Monroe had suddenly become verbally abusive to Bertha and had taken to wandering off and getting lost. Bertha was heartbroken and confused, wondering what in the world happened to the man she had loved for over 50 years. When we found out it was Alzheimer's we were all deeply saddened. Alzheimer's robbed the world of the gentle soul that had been Monroe and it robbed him of his very being, the things that made him who he was. Alzheimer's took Bertha's husband and robbed her of their golden years together, because after awhile, he didn't even remember who she was. She never stopped loving and caring for him and she did her best to remember that it was the disease talking and not her husband. I think that on the hardest & worst days, she carried a memory of who he used to be with her, because that's all she could do. I'm so thankful that we have a better understanding of this disease now, than we did in the 80s, when Monroe had it.

This fall, communities all over the United States are hosting the Memory Walk to benefit the Alzheimer's Association. I'm considering signing up for the one in St. George, Utah and trying to recruit my friends and seeing what we can do to help the cause. You, my readers, should check & see if your community is hosting a walk and check into volunteering to walk, and if they aren't, maybe you can start a team & become a Team Captain. Whatever you decide, whether its to volunteer to walk and raise funds or to start a team, you should sign up early and get a head start! Hopefully, someday we'll find a way to end Alzheimer's, but it can't be done without research, and research takes money. That's where The Memory Walk comes in, to help earn the money it takes to do all of these things, from research and education to community support for people with Alzheimer's and their families .

Listen to your heart, do what you think is right. If you can't walk, please consider a donation to someone who is.

1 comment:

hszoo said...

Wonderful post about this terrible disease that robs us of those we love long before their body expires. I hate it.