A Story to Never Forget

Coffee cups launched like shaky missiles. Stuffed animals cuddled like real children. Memories fleeting as bubbles. Personalities re-sharpen, like a chocolate bar left in the sun to melt and lose form.

The mysterious Alzheimers Disease impacts families, caregivers, and communities in ways which are hard to quantify. Numbers prove unmoving: over 54 million Americans suffer from the disease, and a new person develops Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. However, the financial, physical, and most especially, emotional toll can be proven, not only by copious amounts of news articles, but affirmed by blogs and testimonials. My neighbor has a story; the Internet has a story; my pastor has a story.

Take the account of David. His mother Margaret is quickly losing her capacities, and more often than not reacts in belligerence. Thrown coffee cups. Accusations that he is a thief. He is angry.

Take the account of Marie. After months of visiting her soul mate, Ed, without recognition, a simple game with stuffed animals restored the childlike joy of their relationship. Is it the same? Of course not. But a relationship was transformed from bitterness to a simple, loving acceptance.

Take the account of an aerospace engineer and grandfather, Bob, diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2008. As his memories fade, he tries to live in the moment, in the present. He quotes, “Well, I think one thing that I experience with Alzheimer’s is, I live in the moment — because I can’t remember what happened yesterday. I can’t remember what happened 10 minutes ago. But I’m much more present, I think.”

Stories able to continue for days. Stories of tear soaked pillows; stories of memories serving as the sustenance of a relationship; stories of resigned acceptance; stories of righteous vigor to promote discovering a cure.

On June 21st, the Alzheimers Association is sponsoring “The Longest Day” in order to honor those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. This sunrise-to-sunset event raises funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Teams from all over the world come together to bike, sing, swim, and walk, amongst many activities, standing strong as one. To learn more about this event, check out the link here.

Not only is this a good cause, but also an opportunity to come together in support and tell stories, stories we never want to forget.

What’s your story?