The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's is gearing up all over the country. I am once again forming a team to walk. My mom had Lewy Body Dementia, the 2nd leading form of dementia. I walk to help raise funds to help people with dementia. I also walk to help raise awareness of Lewy. I wrote this a few years ago. It highlights why fighting dementia is so important to me.
On the shelf in my cubicle at work are two pictures that tell a story; one of happy times and love, but also one of hard times and struggles.
In one picture I stand between my parents on my graduation day in 1998. My mother is a vibrant 57 year old. She smiles for pictures and tells people how proud she is of her daughter. This is the mom who taught me to be strong and independent. Mom raised me to be someone who pursues her dreams. She believed in me and was proud of the fact that I could do anything I put my heart into. Mom instilled in me the belief that I could do anything, be anything. In reality I am who I am because of my mother.
What that picture doesn’t show and that we didn’t know at the time was that tangles in Mom’s brain were beginning to change her. Lewy had already taken hold at that time and had begun its insidious creeping, overtaking, destroying.
In the second picture Mom is surrounded by my sisters and me; the strong women she raised. This picture was taken in May 2007 and is the last picture of Mom before her death. In the almost ten years since the first picture she has become frail, a shadow of her former self. Lewy has stolen her ability to do the basic things in life. The family that she raised is now taking care of her. She showered us with love over the years and the family returns that love.
It’s been almost four years since Mom died and I still think of her often. I still talk about Lewy and I still fight dementia. I won't stop until dementia doesn't exist or until I am no longer on this earth.