Last night I realized that we are one day away from the yearly Walk to End Alzheimer’s here in San Antonio. As I listen to the song, “It’s gonna get better” by The Stars go Dim, I know that it will get better. Honestly between you and I, I have been trying to suppress most of the emotion involving Alzheimer’s and the walk. Each year I was always so excited and proud to go to the walk knowing that I had done by best to raise funds and awareness. Last year I was even on the committee for the Alzheimer’s Association to help plan the walk. I keep finding excuses not to go tomorrow. Usually by this point in the month of the walk I have posted something almost every day, gone live on Facebook, sent text, emails and a for few years I even organized fundraisers to raise money for the cause. Truth is…. Alzheimer’s has left me speechless for quite some time now.

The two pictures of my husband and I with my Mama during her last days will always be close to my heart. God sustained us. He kept us strong and faithful and even through the sadness, there was so much beauty in Mom’s passing.

8 years ago I received the news that no 30 year old should have to get. My mom was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at 60. She would never get to be a Grandma (the kind she always was wanted to be) to my then unborn children. Alzheimers you see, has no cure. My world was shattered, yet I went into battle mode because that is what my Mama taught me to do. To fight. And I did. For most of those years I raised money, lots of it and awareness to show everyone what our fight looked like. How Alzheimer’s wasn’t an “old person’s disease” and that everyday people (young and old) can get it. That it is an EPIDEMIC and the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. That if the disease diagnosis keeps growing in the rapid numbers that it is, that it will BANKRUPT our economy! My mom’s monthly care was astronomical. Another tidbit I always like to tell people is that if your parents (or you) do not have long term care insurance, get it now! The cost and time associated with Alzheimers is almost impossible for the everyday person to handle.

With Mom – October 2012 at our gender reveal party for our first child.

Those years were long. The daily pain of having someone with Alzheimer’s seemed almost unbearable. Watching everything I knew of my Mom slowly slipping away. From her calling me “fat” when I became pregnant with my first beautiful Blessing (something she never would have done), to forgetting my Birthday, then later my name to lastly forgetting how to walk and talk. Every time I saw her I cried. Ugly cried. I begged God to take her somedays because my heart couldn’t take much more. I grieved the loss of my Mom for eight long years.

Four days after my beautiful Mama, Melanie turned 69 years old, she went to be with Jesus. Since that chilly afternoon in late February I have never been the same. Grief has resided in almost every one of my days since her passing. It seems as if it is an invisible layer underneath the surface. That at any moment, an overwhelming wave of sadness could take over. And it did. Often. Grief is a funny thing and even though I felt as though I grieved losing her everyday while I was still physically with her, my Mother leaving this earth is an emotion that I am unable to put into words. It is devastating.

Two days before Mom’s Birthday is when she started her slow decend to Heaven after she aspirated and was never able to recover. The night of her Birthday my friends gathered in her small room. With them they brought smiles, prayers, hugs and a cake and we sang her Happy Birthday.

This past weekend I attended a woman’s retreat through our church and I finally felt like I was able to release the anger and sadness to God. I have come to the conclusion that I will never be the same as I when my Mama resided on this earth. I thought I would be happier when she was gone. Knowing that her pain and suffering was over. Yet, when the day happened that she took her last breath as my brother, my husband and I held her hands, I wasn’t relieved. I was heartbroken and lost. My life was going to have to reset and have a “new normal” which didn’t include caring for my mom.

The great news is that I have a good God! One of comforts me in times like these and someone who gives me hope on the days when I think I can’t go on. Fast forward almost eight months and I am still sad, but God reigns supreme in my thoughts and actions. I know that this hard journey that Mom and I slowly glided through, was meant for His glory!

I have heard many times that you can’t control what happens to you, you can only control your reaction. I will not give up my fight against Alzheimer’s!! ! I will continue to tell her story and I know that someday there will be a cure. My prayer is that no other family will have to suffer the heartache of watching their loved one slowly and painfully slip away.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

Please share our story and raise awareness to help END ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE once and for all!! We would also love if you could follow the link below and donate to our walk team, Melanie’s Memories Matter. Every little bit counts!

http:// http://act.alz.org/goto/Melaniesmemoriesmatter

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1-2

Many Blessings,

Tk

My beautiful family. This was our last picture all together with Mom. Thanksgiving 2018.
My oldest daughter, Mom and I. Mothers Day 2016
Mom and my oldest daughter in 2013. She lit up when she spent time with her at the beginning stages of the disease.
How I choose to always remember my beautiful Mama, Melanie Sullivan.
At her happy place, on the beach.