As the Thanksgiving holiday winds down, I've been looking back on all the blogs and articles that I've been reading about caregivers for people with Alzheimer's disease. November is National Caregiver Awareness month, and since today is #GivingTuesday, I thought it was appropriate to highlight a social media trend that is going on in the Alzheimer's Community.
Today is #GivingTuesday, and the Alzheimer's Association wants you to share with others why you #Fight2EndAlz on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
I fight because I'll never forget the phone call when my great grandfather passed away from Alzheimer's related dementia. I've shared my story about my maternal grandfather who passed away from Alzheimer's, but I haven't shared the story about my paternal great grandfather with many people.
We lost my great grandfather on New Year's Eve of December 2015.
But the last memory my family has with him, was one of the happiest.
I'll never forget how happy Granddaddy was at his 100th birthday party. Our whole family came to celebrate, and I will definitely never forget his smile when my sister and I walked into the party. He had a hat on that looked like a birthday cake with candles - and it was the cutest thing I've ever seen.
I sat next to him, and told him what I'd been doing in my classes that semester, and then a few minutes later he asked me the same question and we had the whole conversation all over again, but I was happy to oblige. I sat next to him the majority of the party, and he squeezed my hand the whole time. I was wearing a ring that his wife, my great grandmother, had given me before she passed away.
Granddaddy looked at me with tears in his eyes and said "You still wear it?"
I choked back a sob, nodded and smiled, and said "All the time."
He squeezed my hand a little bit tighter before saying ever so softly, "I wish she could be here. I can't wait until I get to see her again."
Hearing him say that shattered my heart into a thousand pieces. He and my grandmother were, at one point, the longest married couple in Memphis. He loved Mimi Anne with all his heart and she love him the same way.
But the fact that granddaddy recognized the ring reminded me of something that's so important. While memories may fade, the heart never forgets.
The last time I saw granddaddy was such a happy time. My little cousins were running around playing and laughing, granddaddy's sister was beaming with pride on his other side, family and friends were gathered around smiling and celebrating the patriarch of our family.
But then I remember why I fight to end this awful disease.
Alzheimer's took the most precious great granddad I could ever possible ask for, away from me. Alzheimer's took him away from our entire family.
Alzheimer's robbed my great grandfather, a decorated World War Two veteran, of his memories.
So when you ask me why I chose the Alzheimer's Association as my platform, this is one of the many reasons why. I fight to end this disease because of the precious memories that were lost. I fight to end Alzheimer's because I wanted more time with my great granddad. With my grandfather. With my great uncle. I fight because so many of us want more time with our loved ones that this disease has robbed and will continue to rob us of, unless we do something about it.
So what will you do?
Will you donate and help me fight?
I hope you choose to. Click this link to donate and join us in the fight.