Alzheimer's Daughter

The Story

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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


We take pictures of everything. Sometimes I wonder if we miss the joy of a moment because we're grabbing our phones to take a picture and save a memory.

Don't misunderstand. I love my pictures. I collect them, organize them, run them as screen savers and remember with a giggle or a tear special moments.

But, even a decade ago this technology didn't exist. Prior to that time, we planned for a picture, had actual film developed, hoped for the best, and found out maybe a week later if we had taken a good shot. 

This picture was taken of my mother in 1943. It was planned. Maybe it was taken by a photographer. 

Googling took me to the pages of a 1943 Montgomery Wards Catalog showing the cost of average cameras at that time between $40 and $100 with flash attachment and bulbs. That was a huge amount of money after the Great Depression. I doubt Mom's family, small dairy farmers, could have afforded a luxury item like a camera. 

But this event, Mom sitting by her hope chest, with her bridal collection neatly folded within, warranted a picture. She was full of hope for the future and full of love for my dad. That hope never left either of them throughout their  66-year marriage.

They took a chance on a WWII romance and had the dedication to make it last. 

November 11, 1941

Dear Ed,

            I don’t know why––but it seems so much easier to tell you in writing how much you mean to me.  You know there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.  In these uncertain times everyone needs someone to live for, to dream about––without this we’re lost.
            Ed, I love you with all my heart.  I’d consider it an honor if you’d allow me to wait for you until the war is over.
           Why couldn’t I have realized, and told you about my feelings in person, before you left for the Army?  I am so very sure now.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have this original photo in Grandma's hope chest upstairs:). I was looking at it just the other night after reading Alzheimer's Daughter.