There are a lot of smiles in those headline photos. Smiles to cover up the pain, smiles to show our hope. We have all been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only leading cause of death in the list of top ten that does not have a treatment, prevention, or cure. In two weeks, we will have a special guest on our podcast from the Alzheimer’s Association to talk about the risks for women and what’s being done to fight the disease. This week, I’m sharing a snippet of my story. Millions of Americans have stories just like mine, so I share it to offer comfort, resources, and hope.
I will never forget the day that my grandmother gave me a blank look, no longer able to recognize me.
I had flown home for Christmas, nearly 700 miles from Minneapolis to Detroit, and that day I felt every single painful mile that we had spent apart.
My grandmother walked through the door with a big smile on her face. She hugged everyone in my family, still smiling, and then she stopped and looked at me. That blank look. A wave of confusion. A look, almost, of fear. I will never forget the dagger through my heart. She could only manage to say a few words at this stage in her battle, but the look said it all.
Alzheimer’s had ravaged her brain. She no longer knew who I was.