That time of year again

I sound like a broken record with you guys – I have more things to do than I have hours in the day to get them done – but it’s so true.

Speaking of records, found Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” on vinyl for $2.99. No record collection would be complete without it…

I digress.

This post isn’t to tell you how behind I am on things or how busy I’ve been or how I forgot what sleeping in looks like or whatever. It’s to remind you of what I’ve got coming up.

Last year, I started preparations super-early. It was our first year to participate and I wanted to make sure we did everything right and good and quick and awesome.

What am I talking about? The Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

It’s almost exactly two months away and while we already have our T-shirts ready to go, there’s little else that’s been done to prepare. And I have big goals this year, friends. Big.

Like, more than $2,000 raised big, which shouldn’t be hard because we did it last year. And more people on the team. Or involved in another way, or made aware of this deserving cause, what they can do about it and who they are helping.

In the year since the last Walk, some things have changed. Just about a week after last year’s event, my grandpa passed away. My grandpa, who was there mentally at 94, who had been taking care of my grandma since they’d met almost 70 years before.

The days that followed, as I said before, are some of the hardest I’ve experienced. In addition to losing such an important person to our lives, we were also having to watch as my grandmother went through the pain of losing the person who had been her world for decades.

For a short while, she remembered he was gone, and was so very sad, as we all were. But then she stopped remembering. She’d ask where he was and as much as it hurt to see her go through it all over again, we’d tell her he was gone.

And that was almost worse. She’d think she hadn’t been there, that she didn’t get to say goodbye, that it just happened out of the blue and he was perfectly OK before that. It was so hard to see her like that, to keep reassuring her that she was there, she was holding his hand.

Soon after, we stopped telling her what had happened. When she asked where he was we said we didn’t know or that he was out. It was easier, less damaging to her psychologically to keep putting her through that heart-wrenching grief every single time she asked.

Since then she’s started thinking he’s in another part of the assisted-living place where she lives. She thinks she saw him just yesterday or she’ll see him later or when she goes home.

In the last few times I’ve seen her, she hasn’t mentioned him at all.

If you’re new, here’s what you need to know. My grandma, who turns 90 very soon but doesn’t look a day over 80, has Alzheimer’s.

She’s who I walk for, and I’m not alone. Last year a team of 13 of us walked to end this horrible disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and one that makes the sufferer and those who love them feel so helpless, because there’s little you can do.

With my grandma, we’re luckier than some. Usually we see her disease most when we’re answering the same question a few times in a conversation.

Sometimes we see it in ways that make us laugh, because you have to laugh at things sometimes. It is the best medicine, after all, which is why I will continue to try and get a giggle or two from her every time I see her.

Her most recent hilarity? When Mom reminded her that she has a pretty big birthday soon, she’s gonna be turning 90.

Grandma: “90?! I don’t look 90.”

I say we’re luckier than some because I know it can be worse. I know there’s a point in this disease where loved ones become unfamiliar. And while I haven’t heard my grandma say my actual name in a long time, she has called me her granddaughter. And she knows me. And I’m so grateful. And I’m soaking it in as much as I can, storing the laughs I get out of her and her little sayings and funny comments alongside the
memories I have of her from when I was little, like when she’d read to us the story about the Gingerbread Man or her little purse for her coins that looked like an owl.

My grandma’s still in there, and I’m lucky for that. But I’m still walking for her. For others who aren’t so lucky, for the hope that one day, we’ll find a way to slow this down or get rid of it completely.

We walk Sept. 8. In our purple shirts we made in her honor. For others who are supporting the Alzheimer’s Association and those who love someone who’s sick.

I’d We’d appreciate anything you can give, whether it be company along the walk (it’s on the riverfront downtown), prayers, moral support or monetary. The money, the time, the love, the prayers, they all go to a good cause. To beautiful people like this little lady, who I’m proud to have as a part of my family.

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One thought on “That time of year again

  1. Jennifer Cook says:

    Matt and I will definitely be joining you for the walk and donating! I will spread the word about your fundrasing- I hope you surpass your goal! Go team How many Elephants!

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