It’s impossible to pick a favorite memory with my mom when I have a lifetime of favorites, but I’ll never forget the smile on her face on my wedding day. She looked breathtaking in her purple (our new favorite color) mother of the bride dress. I’ve never seen her feel so confident or so overjoyed.
Alzheimer’s instantly changed our lives by flipping the mother-daughter role. I was finishing my masters when we heard the words early-onset. I was so unprepared to become a caregiver/mom. I was also so unprepared to slowly lose my best friend. The diagnosis gave us a fierce passion to End Alz.
Mom is unlike most with Alzheimer’s. It’s why she’s so special. She’s always been so aware. Since day one she’s been determined to fight because she wants to be present in our lives. She also wants to do anything and everything she can to make sure no one else suffers this same rollercoaster journey we are on. Even if that means sharing the ugly parts of living with Alzheimer’s.
My advice would be to do everything you want to do with your loved one in the beginning. Don’t take a single day for granted. Travel, talk constantly, take countless pictures and videos, check off your bucket lists. I wish I didn’t take for granted the beginning. I felt like I had plenty of time. I wish I knew what 5 years later would look like. Live in the present. Don’t dwell on what was or what’s to come.
I would love for the world to know Alzheimer’s is NOT an elderly disease. This is happening to people in their prime and stealing them before they ever get to meet their first grandchild. It’s also so much more than memory loss. It attacks the entire body, forcing the person with Alzheimer’s to decline from adults back to newborns. Yes, she doesn’t know my name, but she also can longer walk, feed herself, or speak.