I don't want to forget. I never wanted to forget. Somehow that's all I seem to be doing. It's not my fault. I'm sick. My brain is sick and even with all the billions and billions of dollars that have gone into research, they still can't seem to solve the puzzle that is Alzheimer's. Not for trying.
I know this is a topic that is hard to talk about. No one wants to talk about it because it's painful. Painful for everyone involved. I think that's one of the reasons we NEED to talk about it. Knowledge is power they say and I fully believe that adage. The more you know about something, the less frightening it seems. Which is why when I told my parents I was scared of snakes they had the herpetologist from down the street come talk to my brother and me about his work. He's the reason I got to know so many other weird and fascinating creatures. See what I mean here. I remember learning about snakes when I was 6 years old, but I can't remember the name of my own child. Or where I went to university or the date I married my amazing husband. But of course, I remember the words to a toothpaste commercial from the summer I turned 11. That is wrong. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease. It has no rhyme or reason as it strips away your memory, making you forget. Dierdre Anne, Montana State University and Sept 18, 1984, because I do remember them right now.
That's why I'm writing this down today. I seem to be firing on all cylinders today and want to leave a note to everyone. No matter how hard it is for me, just love me. Please. When I forget how to eat or tell you I need to use the bathroom. When I have a tantrum because I can't go off and play bridge with my best friend Sylvia because she has been dead for 15 years, even though I swear I saw her last week. Just love me. I'll remember that. That's the part I need to remember, to take with me when I go. That even though I was messed up and sick, I was loved. That my grandchildren got to know a small piece of me, even if it wasn't the ones that you thought they would. They'll still know they had a grandparent who loved them back and enjoyed spending time with them. Since my memory is shit, it'll be easy to distract me with shiny balloons, bubbles or rainbows. Give me candy because then at least I'll be eating something. Even though it is probably one of the most painful experiences you will ever have to deal with in your life. Love me. Deep down I'll know.
The body is like a machine. Even if you treat it well it's going to wear down. If you're lucky you won't get Alzheimer's, but more and more people are not lucky. That is why we need to speak about it. Families need a support group to help them deal with the pain of watching me slip away. Someone to lean on as they amazing parent they once knew and counted on fades off into nothing. I can't even imagine how difficult this must be for you, my dearest Dierdre. All I know is that I love you and thank you for the time we had together. You were my baby. The one thing I always wanted. Don't be frustrated when I can't remember our happy times together. They are up there; I just can't grasp them. It could be a memory that was really happy and those are the things I hate that I forget the most. The good ones. It seems they go first, but honestly, they all go at the same time. It's just easier for you to see the happy ones because that is an emotion that is easy for me to convey. Happy and frustrated. They don't even coincide with each other on the emotion wheel, yet somehow are the best to emote.
Hopefully, someday they'll crack the case of Alzheimer's. I just know I'll be forgotten by then. Lost in a sea of souls who couldn't be helped, lost to the past that I can't remember. Or maybe you'll forget too. It can be a blessing to lose the memories that hurt the most. But I think being a human is the summation of all your experiences combined. If you can't remember them does that make you less of a human? Or not even a human anymore? I hate to think like this, but these are the hard questions we must ask. Why we need research on this subject. If only to find those answers that keep us awake at night. They're out there in the universe somewhere waiting to be discovered. My dearest daughter I want you to know I love you with all my heart. I wanted to tell you on paper so you could have something tangible to touch and remember. So that you don't forget.