In Memory of Those Lost to Alzheimer’s

I want to tell you how much I miss my mother. Bits of her are still there. I miss her most when I’m sitting across from her. Candy Crowley, Broadcast Journalist

The month of November is known as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan made that designation in 1983. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, at that time there were less than two million people with the disease. Through the years that number has grown to 5.8 million. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.

As I was researching for my book, MOM’S GONE, NOW WHAT? I learned many facts about Alzheimer’s as I read articles and interviewed daughters who had lost or were losing their mothers to this horrific disease. During this time, I had the honor of interviewing, Allie, a young daughter whose mother, Annette, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age forty-seven when Allie was eleven. Allie’s mother died in May, she was fifty-six. 

If you live in the Chicago, IL area or have access to channel WTTW, watch “Too Soon To Forget: The Journey of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease” on Sunday, November 3 at 1:00 pm or Friday, November 8 at 3:30 am. Allie and her family are featured in this program.

Affirmation: I care about those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and their families. 

Coaching request: If you know someone who is caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, offer to help them with a meal or an everyday chore. Take time this month to educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease.

fullsizeoutput_fc3.jpegAnnette M. Wheat 11/25/63-5/11/19

Don’t Forget About Me

I want to tell you how much I miss my mother. Bits of her are still there. I miss her most when I’m sitting across from her. Candy Crowley, CNN Chief Political Correspondent

Alzheimer’s is a cruel, cruel disease. The entire family suffers. Interviewing daughters who have lost or are losing their mothers to this horrible disease has taught me much. Early-onset Alzheimer’s and other early dementias are particular horrific.

 I had the honor to interview, Allie, a young daughter whose mother started showing signs of Alzheimer’s at age forty seven, Allie was eleven. This is a portion of a poem Allie wrote while she was her mother’s part-time caregiver for six years.

Allie is now a successful college student and her mother is in memory care. 

Don’t You Forget About Me

I cannot say the words, they are too hard to say

I rue the moment that I fade, the memories went away

I had a beautiful mom whose mind went one day

I had a mom who was too sick to stay

I blame the disease that stripped her that way

I hate that I won’t see her on my wedding day

Affirmation: I care about the suffering of others.

Coaching questions: If you are a care-giver of someone with dementia, in what ways are you taking care of yourself? How can you reach out to others for support? Write a poem or a letter or draw a picture to help release some of your emotions.