An Open Letter To Alzheimer’s

Family, Real World

You snuck in like a thief in the night, icy fingers sending needles through one of our spines. You picked a target, and stole, and then you moved in.

In the days, weeks and months after you invaded our family we knew something was off, but no one was able to put their finger on what exactly you had taken from us. You seeped into our world, our life, and you brought your belongings. It was going to be a long and painful visit.

You took many things over the course of your unwanted, and unwarranted, stay with us. First you snuck away with words, a few at a time, always leaving one that meant nearly the same thing – but not quite. You stole language, one word at a time, until it was clear what was going on. You stole her memory, you stole her mind, and you stole her from us. You took and took, and yet you were never satisfied.

The woman you stole from was an artist. A sister. A mother. A wife. A grandmother. A smart, loving, passionate and brilliant soul. You stole from her without remorse, faster and faster – until you took her from us.

It was always going to be a losing battle, yet the sting of loss is one that lingers no matter the distance and time.

You took many things. But you cannot take my memory, at least not yet. I honor her by remembering her collecting shells on the beach, reading to me, sewing beautiful and one of a kind dresses for my dolls. I honor her by remembering the way she crafted her dinners, inserting her love for her family into every meal. I honor her by remembering her as the artist she was, creating masterpieces that bring warmth to my heart when I see them.

You make have taken her from us, but you will never erase her.

Gone, but never forgotten.

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