The Meals on Wheels Team on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Every year, my husband and I take part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It’s a tiny way to pay tribute to our mothers. We lost my mom to Alzheimer’s in 2010 … his mother in 2009. Walking seems an appropriate way to honor them, since the route is steep at times and then downhill at others. The Alzheimer’s journey is like that. There are days you feel as if you can’t face another obstacle or take another step. But there are also good days, when you’re grateful for moments when their memories wake up…for a little while. We families, who have a front row seat watching this horrible disease deliver blow after blow, are put on an emotional roller coaster. We, very selfishly, are silently grateful for the day the roller coaster comes to a screeching halt. When someone you love actually dies of Alzheimer’s … it’s almost as if they’ve died a second time. The first death is much longer and more painful …seeing the slow demise of their mind and their memories.
This year’s walk was on a beautiful sunny Saturday. We strolled up and down the streets in Northwest Austin happily chatting to friends. Many of the participants carried signs with pictures of the people they were honoring. There were matching shirts with logos like “Team Mimi” or “Walking for Pops”. I couldn’t’ help wondering what each family has seen and where they are in their walk with this disease. Is their loved one still alive? How far has the disease progressed? Are they living at home on in a facility? Do they still recognize you? I was lucky, my mom still knew me until the day she died. She also never lost her ability to talk, read and sing. That was a blessing.
Sometimes, I wonder whether I will face this disease. I see science developing tests to pinpoint whether you are at high risk. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to know! Who wants to live dreading the day you stop remembering? I’d rather just relish my wonderful life and my memories and hope I never follow in the footsteps of Alzheimer’s.