Great-Grandfather’s Birthday

He was 93, yet he was gone long before that. Today is his birthday. He would have been 96.

I can’t believe that nearly three years has passed since my great-grandfather’s death. Alzheimer’s is a terrible, terrible disease. It slowly made his memory go. Eventually, he forgot who his own family was. Eventually, his body forgot how to work.

Anyone who has a friend or family member with Alzheimer’s knows how devastating it can be. We don’t want to acknowledge it, but we can’t deny it’s there. We want to pretend it’s not, but yet, it is.

We know by the blank look in their eye that it’s there. We know by continued repeat questions that it’s there. We know just by talking to them that it’s there. It’s devastating to us to watch them go through it.

If there’s one thing my great-grandfather remembered, it was his truck. It went to my dad after his death. That truck was his everything. He would get lost on his walks, so my grandparents put a gate just past next door. It was already a secluded area, but they still needed that gate. Who knows where he would have gone otherwise.

Like I said, he loved his truck. His keys were taken away from him long before his death, but it was still his. He would get lost between his house and next door, so my grandparents had to go get him. His eyes would light up when he saw that truck.

Just from watching my great-grandfather, I think there’s one thing that Alzheimer’s patients remember. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. They forget a lot, but there is one thing that they hold dear.

Maybe holding on to that one thing is a step closer to curing Alzheimer’s. Maybe, just maybe, if we work together, this terrible disease can be cured.

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