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.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Months after Mom died, I attended a Father's Day picnic at the memory care unit where dad now lived alone.
The staff grilled burgers, hotdogs and produced an array of every food anyone would encounter at a down-home family reunion. Residents smiled and laughed at the happy hubbub. Staff members lovingly served each resident.
As entertainment, a country crooner belted out his one-man-band 1950s hits like, "Won't You Come Home, Bill Baily," and "Love Letters in the Sand."
Staff members coaxed residents who were mobile and could stand to get up and dance. Dad danced with me. I'll never forget that moment, the pure joy springing from him in this otherwise bleak situation. Dad held onto his joy and graciousness until the very end of life about 9 months later.
I coutinue to learn important lessons from him through reflection on his life.