Alzheimer’s Daughter introduces the reader to my healthy parents, Ed and Ibby, years before their diagnosis, then recounts painful details as our roles reversed and I became my parents’ parent.
Their disease started as translucent, confused thoughts and ended in a locked memory care unit after a near decade of descent into the opaque world of Alzheimer's.
I began writing Alzheimer’s Daughter one week after my mother's death––when I was stunned, realizing Dad had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage.
I write to pay tribute to the undying spirit at Ed and Ibby's core, and with the hope that the story of their parallel decline might be helpful to others.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Dad, U.S. Army, Horse Cavalry
As a retired teacher there is no greater joy than to be remembered by a former student. This morning I had the pleasure of being invited to an honors breakfast by a young man I had as a student in third grade.
When in my classroom, he was not even as tall as my shoulder, but now he's so tall, I don't even reach his shoulder. This young man starts college in the fall and will study to become a high school math teacher.
He reminisced about learning basic math facts, cursive writing, and how to run a vacuum cleaner in my classroom. But his most vivid memory was of meeting my father.
Our third grade classes were always responsible for the Veterans' Day assembly in early November. Our music teacher dedicated the first two months of school to creating the musical and speaking program which would honor our Veterans. Attending this program was a highlight for my dad. He had remained fit enough that he could still wear parts of his uniform sixty years later.
My student remembered being reluctant to speak to these towering men in uniform, but he bolstered his courage and shook my dad's hand. Today——nine years after that handshake——that's what we talked about.
I'm so thankful for the young students I was privileged to teach, and I'm especially touched that my former student brought my father to mind for me today.