Precious Memories, Until Their Not, There

Alzheimers is nasty. It robs the men and women of their memory and cognitive functions.

Mom lived 91 amazing years. Her memory slipped a bit in the last few years, but not seriously. She was bright, optimistic and loving. Mom married for the third time at 89 to Clarence.

Their combined age was 183 years and were true sweethearts.

Mom could share memories from childhood with incredible detail, yet she could not remember where she put her debit card or remember her PIN number. Small details and in the big picture of life, meaningless.

The people I’ve known with Alzheimers were pleasant and happy. Sure they could get frustrated that they couldn’t remember something or express themselves. Then forget they were frustrated a moment later.

The hard part is for those of us who love and support them.

The vibrant and bright person we love fades in and out. One moment you make the connection and have a beautiful conversation — the next moment they forget who you are and what you were talking about. It breaks your heart and scrambles your brain.

Makes you ask “What just happened?” and then you remember, Alzheimers.

You stop yourself from correcting them or finishing their sentences.

The very thing that defines what it means to be human and shapes your reality are your memories. When you can no longer access them does it make you any less? Do you stop being who you are?

I don’t think so.

When you struggle to express yourself does that mean you aren’t you? Does that mean you are less than you were?

I don’t think so.

When you are patient with your loved one experiencing Alzheimers the highest and best part of you rises, or, you shrink in fear. You light up in those rare, bright moments and glimpses of their old self.

You rejoice in making the connection in that moment, then, it is gone. Are you grateful for those small precious moments?

I think so.
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