Alzheimer’s Through the Eyes of a Teen

This past Tuesday, when Emily created her account on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s page, she included the following message which explained why she was walking. She also shared it on Facebook as a way to encourage others to sponsor Team B.Lou, join us in the walk or create their own teams.

When I was in high school, my Granny moved in with us. Her husband, Frank, had passed away, and what we thought was the stress of taking care of a sick spouse and grief, turned out to be the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

It has been almost 15 years since we learned of the disease that she battled, and this past spring marked 5 years since she left this world to begin a life in God’s kingdom. A life free of Alzheimer’s.

Having Granny move in with us was tough. I’m sure it was tough on my parents in ways I will never understand, but as a high schooler, it was tough. It was tough for me for incredibly selfish reasons. It was tough because now I had to share my bathroom. It was tough because I realized after a few weeks of her living with us that she was using my toothbrush 😁. It was tough because being a former high school principal, she would critique my outfits and let me know I was dressed inappropriate for school. It was tough having dinner interrupted with her leaving the table to go and talk to Dr. Phil.

It is still difficult for me to talk about my Granny. It’s tough now. It’s tough because most of my memories are not of the brilliant, loving, talented, strong, creative, and beautiful woman that I have heard stories about and I once knew. Even though I was a teenager when this disease became a part of our family, it is tough because I don’t remember life before it.

On 9/19 I will be participating in a walk to end Alzheimer’s with family and friends in Ocala, and we will be walking not only for Granny, but also my cousins’ Granddaddy. We will walk for those feeling lost and frustrated because they are now feeling the effects of this confusing disease. We will walk for those family members that are watching their loved ones become a person they no longer recognize.

As we walk, we ask for your help. If you’re in Ocala, walk with us. If you can’t join us, consider donating money to support the cause. Donate to Team B. Lou by following the link below. If you have no money to give, share your stories of those you know that are living their own ALZ story or share your love and prayers. Together we can make a difference. Click here to donate to Team B. Lou.

And then a second post on Facebook last Friday.

Happy Friday friends! Is it just me, or has this week flown by? Now that I have your attention with this picture, let me offer an explanation. No, I’m not drinking at 9am. No, I’m not promoting this scotch, and it’s not even particularly good scotch.

This post is more about the story that goes along with this bottle of alcohol. Enjoy another addition of Granny stories. — As I previously shared, my Granny was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just about 15 years ago, and just over 5 years ago she passed away due to complications from battling this disease. Though this story is funny now, it was pretty terrifying when we were living it.

My Granny lived with us when I was in high school, and one day my dad received a phone call from the Ocala police informing him that they had my grandmother. She was picked up wandering along a busy road several miles from home with 2 bottles of scotch in her purse and confused about where she was. She wasn’t doing anything wrong, but the officers were concerned and my dad went and picked her up.

After that point my dad would offer her scotch here and there with the thought that maybe she would like a drink, but she would refuse saying “I don’t drink that stuff” or something along those lines.

We laugh about this story now as it seems so absurd this lady walking around with bottles of scotch, but at the time it was this realization that this disease had progressed, and that my parents couldn’t assume she would be safe hanging out at home alone all day. From there we transitioned to a Granny Nanny and eventually an assisted living facility to help care for her.

So how did I end up with this Scotch? Well, instead of a traditional bridal shower before our wedding, I made Mr. W have a joint shower/stock the bar party with me. My mom and dad gifted us this little treasure. When I see this bottle, I smile. I smile for the silly stories we have of my Granny post Alzheimer’s that we just have to laugh about now, but more importantly, I think about my Granny. Help support us on 9/19 as we walk to End Alzheimer’s. Walk with us in Ocala or donate to our campaign.

If you’re not in Ocala, check the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website to locate a walk in which you can participate. Together we can help the Alzheimer’s Association accomplish their mission:

To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.