For memories

A few weeks ago — in the midst of an ongoing group text between the group of bridesmaids and bride from my bff’s recent nuptials that makes me smile and giggle at least 4 times a day — one of my bfs, Sammi, mentioned she’d stumbled upon a gold mine.

What was that gold mine? Oh, you know, just our youth in song form. She’d found the NSYNC Pandora station, which, if you haven’t listened to, I highly recommend.

I knew we’d hear the obvious boy bands — tune in later this week to read the first installment of what I’ll call “Really? Boy Band Music deconstructed” because these lyrics are downright ridic.

What I didn’t expect was to hear some new stuff sprinkled in, plus some Glee, plus some MJ and every once in a while, some Grease soundtrack for good measure.

One song that’s played at least three times each day I have the station on is Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody.”

Here’s the video, to refresh – or introduce – some of you:

Backstreet Boys were my first concert, but not my first love.. I had those NKOTB trading cards and was a big fan of them as a little lady. But Nick Carter…yeah, I loved that boy.

I remember the first time I saw the music video I shared above. I’m 99.9-percent sure it’s the first music video I ever saw, at least the first one in its entirety.

I was in my late middle school years and remember that I watched the video with my little sisters, and parents, on VH1 in our condo at Myrtle Beach. I think we saw that video a few times that week, and though I hadn’t seen it in years, before I heard it again the other day, I could have told you what happens chronologically for pretty much the whole video.

It’s a random memory, but it seems so fresh – a testament to how ridiculously fast time goes because it doesn’t seem all that long ago even though it was 14 years or more.

I think about things like that a lot – memories of simpler times, when work and bills and other responsibilities weren’t already hovering over me.

And when my friends and I get together – those friends that have been dubbed CKR – it’s hard for new people to get a word in edgewise, because we’re catching up but also reliving and remembering all that history we have.

I do all I can to hold onto those random memories – whether it be that silly little BSB video I watched at the beach or that first CKR when Rebecca drank TAB Energy for some reason and someone called us high-schoolers – because they’re comforting, they make me happy, they make me feel like everything’s OK and it’s going to be OK.

What’s my point?

What if it’s not always like that? Not everyone can hold onto their memories.

We’re a little more than a month out from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and I feel guilty for slacking so much this year in my fund-raising and awareness efforts after how awesome we did last year.

It’s an important cause for me. A percentage of my paycheck goes to the Alzheimer’s Association each month, but I don’t think that’s enough. I want to do more. Because for me, it’s personal.

Tomorrow, July 31, she turns 90.

NINETY. She doesn’t think she looks 90, and neither do I. And with her feisty attitude and sense of humor that’s still alive inside her, she doesn’t act it, either.

My grandma’s had Alzheimer’s disease for several years now. And it’s hard to know which memories she still has and which are lost forever. It’s hard to think about the fact that she doesn’t remember her 89th birthday, her last one with my grandpa, when my aunt and uncle came to visit, we got her a chocolate cake and after standing to show us one of her presents, she fell back in her chair, not from any problems with her health, but because she was laughing so hard. It was a good day.

And while tomorrow’s her actual birthday – the same day as Harry Potter, which she couldn’t care less about but I think is cool – we’re celebrating her with (almost) the entire family later this month when everyone’s here for the wedding.

It’s going to be great, and she’ll be happy because so many people she loves will be there and, well, there will be cake and the little lady has a sweet tooth.

And she might not remember it all happened the next day, but for that day itself, in the midst of all of it, she’ll have fun, and she’ll be happy. And I’m grateful that we can give her that.

Alzheimer’s is an unfair disease. All diseases are, but like I said, this one’s personal. This one takes your memories – a big part of you.

I want her to remember. I want her to be happy. I want time to stop, just for a little while at least.

She’s not the only person in the world with this disease, by far. So many others have loved ones they’ve lost to it, or loved ones that are struggling with it. So many others have seen this disease take memories, and it’s not picky about the ones it takes.

My team and I, we’re walking for her, but we’re walking for them, too. For the people we don’t know, who we’ll never know and who will never know us. But we want the same things for them as we want for my grandma – for there to be a cure for this disease, for there to be a way to prevent it, for there to be a way to make it not so bad and unfair and gut-wrenching like it sometimes can be.

We’re walking for memories.

Please consider donating: For memories.

And if money’s not your thing or you can’t help in that way, then come take a walk with us, Saturday Sept. 8. We’ll be down by the Waterfront. In purple shirts. We’ll be hard to miss.

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2 thoughts on “For memories

  1. Barbara says:

    Ok, so I cried through the middle part of this. Thanks, Laura. I will not be THERE to walk with you guys this time, but Ben and I will walk HERE and I will wear my “How many elephants?” t-shirt, and be “remembering” mom. THANKS! See you soon!

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