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Alzheimer's is Not My Grandfather
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2016 3:07 PM
Joined: 4/18/2016
Posts: 1

This week, I wrote an article for The Odyssey. It focuses on my relationship with my Pap, and the memories we still share and create through his battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

If you could please share the link on Facebook I would greatly appreciate it. Here is the article for those who do not have Facebook:

The definition of Alzheimer’s is the progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain.

The definition of Alzheimer’s is not my Pap.

My Pap has always been a prominent figure in my life. Yeah, he scared me when I was little, but as I grew up his sternness became one of the things I loved most about him. He and my grandma were there for every christmas and thanksgiving, and they came over every sunday for dinner in the summer.

My Pap is still stern and serious. He is still himself. But now he has Alzheimer’s.

I hate the look on people’s faces when I tell them my Pap has Alzheimer’s disease. I hate the look of pain, the look of uncomfortableness.

I had seen Alzheimer’s before. My Nami, my dad’s mom, battled the disease for years, and I saw her at the tail end.

People with Alzheimer’s do not just lose their memories like most people believe. They forget how to walk, talk, and live independently.

But here is the thing people forget. These men and women do not become Alzheimer’s.

My Pap is not Alzheimer’s. He is my Pap, who just happens to live with Alzheimer’s. He still likes chocolate an abnormal amount. He still growls when he sees me on my cell phone. He still gives me a look that could kill when I mention tattoos. He still smiles and kisses my grandma when he sees her.

People with Alzheimer’s do not lose their identity. They are still our parents, our grandparents, our friends. They may lose their memories, but we remember them for them.

I would give anything to reverse this terrible disease, but since that is not an option for now, I would rather change what society thinks about victims of Alzheimer’s. I’m not ashamed of what the disease has done to my family. My family and myself are stronger today because of it. Do I miss my Pap’s lectures about school and good grades? Absolutely. Do I wish I could have learned more about his life? Yes. But nothing has changed, so why waste time thinking about the past when I’m still able to make new memories with him?


Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 5:06 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 18944

Jim Broede
Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 11:49 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462

Yes, I am with you, Natalie. People with Alzheimer’s do not lose their identity. My dear Jeanne remains my true love. From beginning to end. Jeanne’s essence and spirit remains alive in me. Forever. She still inspires me. To continue to savor life. Alzheimer’s was only a miniscule, incidental   episode in Jeanne’s life.  We all die of something or other. Dying is unimportant. Living. Living. Living to the fullest.  That was Jeanne.  I’m trying to follow her example. Yes, I’m in love. With life. I’m so enamored with life. That I’d rather not take time to die. --Jim


Posted: Monday, April 25, 2016 11:09 AM
Joined: 12/22/2015
Posts: 6


Thank you for sharing.

I feel the same way about my grandmother and feel blessed for every day.