“I don’t fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those, I imagine death presents like a holiday at the beach.”
~ Mary Roach
In the midst of life there is death. We all know this but we hate to think about dying. We resist not only the thought of dying but the actual act of dying to the fullest. Our goal? To live as long as possible – of course! Who wouldn’t want to have children, see said children have their own children, contribute to mankind, have a purpose bigger than ourselves or be the most awesome person in the life of another? Every.Last.One.Of.Us.
Continue reading Thinking About Dying
Dedicated to all Moms who may have forgotten they are moms | Photo by Gale E
“My mother had early-onset Alzheimer’s, and it took her four years to die. She was only 44; I was 14.” ~ Karolyn Grimes
“I hate Alzheimer’s. It is one of the most awful things because, here is a loved one, this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years, and suddenly, that person is gone. They’re gone. They are gone.” ~ Pat Robertson
“I’m in awe of people out there who deal with Alzheimer’s, because they have to deal with death 10 times over, year after year.” ~ Marcia Wallace
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Alzheimer’s, Dementia … mention these diseases to me and I get really angry. I am angry because they tear the patriarchs of our family away from us. I am angry because these diseases eat away not only at bodies but at minds once brilliant and shining, leaving nothing but ashes blowing in the smoke of obliterated memories. I am angry as I watch atrophied muscles in legs and arms refusing to cooperate, under dimmed eyes which always seem to ask: “who are you, where am I, how did I get here, why don’t I know any of these people?” These questions really cut to the heart when it’s your mom (or dad) wondering what’s going on.
But in case you didn’t truly know …
- The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease is growing — and growing fast. An estimated 5.5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease.
- Of the estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2017, an estimated 5.3 million are age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals are under age 65 and have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
- One in 10 people age 65 and older (10 percent) has Alzheimer’s dementia.
- Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
- African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older whites.
- Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older whites.
Because of the increasing number of people age 65 and older in the United States, particularly the oldest-old, the number of new cases of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to soar. Today, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s dementia every 66 seconds. By mid-century, someone in the United States will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
If you haven’t seen the movie “Still Alice” starring Julianne Moore I invite you to download it and find a quiet moment where you can watch uninterrupted. After you have recovered from all of the emotions, take a breath and then watch this interesting and informative TED Talk by Lisa Genova, author of the book Still Alice (on which the movie is based) as she speaks to the audience on how we can possibly avoid Alzheimer’s. I for one will seriously need to catch up on my sleep and attempt to learn new things more often.
But what about you? Is anyone in your family affected by this terrible disease? Are you a caregiver? How has it affected you? What have you learnt from the experience? In observation of Mother’s Day I am inviting you to please share your story; someone out there needs to know they are not alone in this struggle.
Click here for a little of my personal journey: Alzheimer’s is Real – Part I & Alzheimer’s is Real – Part II; to read more thoughts simply search this blog using the word: Alzheimer’s.
Dementia is hard. We often feel alone in the journey even when we know thousands of others are on the same path. I want my path to cross with theirs. It’s so easy to rejoice when others are rejoicing – it’s much harder to mourn with those who mourn. So, we acknowledge the pain of others politely, but would rather not get involved in it. Grief is messy, but there is strength – even power – in mourning together. As difficult as dementia is, faith in the God who is Hope means we are not hopeless. Faith in Jesus means Mama and I have forever – this nasty now and now isn’t the end. We have forever. That’s the confidence that helps me when she forgets my name. I believe God wired us to be impacted by stories – His and each other’s. Telling what we’re living through with faith and honesty is one way I let the my corner of the world see that Christ is in me. I’d like to say writing about this journey is an unselfish act. That wouldn’t be 100% true. I also write to heal the wounds in my own heart.
Joy Continue reading “Especially Now” by Joy DeKok, Author