The Long and Winding Road

I took a walk down Alphabet Street and I was struck by what appeared.

A begins the alphabet

L falls in the middle

Z ends the alphabet

ALZ.  Alzheimer’s.  You’re born, you live and then you die.  We all have a beginning, a middle and an end.  Alzheimer’s is simply a horrible way to live out the last moments on this earth.  My education about ALZ and dementia began in early 2004 when I saw the first signs in my mother’s personality change.  Eight years later, she is living with severe dementia and needs assistance to do the basic everyday things we all take for granted: bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, etc….  During these eight years I have met well over a hundred people who have been afflicted with this unforgiving disease.  Each and every one of them had a full life prior to their diagnosis.  I’ve met a Senator, a Tuskegee Airman, a judge, educators, veterans, doctors, a jazz band drummer, and the list goes on and on.  More importantly they all are/were someone’s loved one: mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, wife, husband, friend.

The mark you leave on the world, whether big or small is uniquely yours.  I understand that living your life to its fullest is easier said than done when the day-to-day responsibilities take precedence.  As a caregiver this is a daily struggle for me; it’s a struggle for millions.  Writing this blog is an exercise for me to remind myself to revel in the now; to live life with purpose.

If you are reading this, join me in taking a moment to pause.

Stop.

Reflect on your life; your relationships with others.  Think about what you’ve accomplished and what’s still on your to-do and wish lists.  Think about having the ability to think clearly – to make judgment calls – to plan.  Imagine those capabilities being erased because some neurons in your brain have other plans for you.  It’s a scary thought, but it’s nice to have thoughts…isn’t it?

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