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Aug 6, 2011

ALZHEIMERS IS A BEOTCH.

 This is a repost from Jan. 2010 for Sunday Favorites. Check in with Chari @ Happy to Design to see all the oldies but goodies we have posted before. 
***Note that I don't know if Jen is still donating from her card sales so check with her for that information.
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I went to a funeral on December 23. It was expected but still very sad. The funeral was for my friend Anne. She was one of my coffee buddies but had been in a care home for a few years now. Anne had early onset Alzheimers disease. Anne was only 67 when she passed away.
I spoke at her funeral and would like to share some of the story of Anne here. I like that it will be written down and remembered. Anne will be remembered even though she couldn't remember any of us.
What could be more appropriate to make us think about those with Alzheimer's than these Forget Me Nots.
This beautiful art card was created by Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams. You can have a look at her gallery by clicking on the mosaic on her site. Jen generously donates money for Alzheimer's research from every set of these Forget Me Not cards. Have a look at all of her cards though. You will find several that will be your favorites.

ANNE:

Anne’s Alzheimer’s had already started to affect her when I first met her but it wasn’t that obvious at first for if you know our coffee group we thrive on silliness and humour and we all joked about our memories being terrible.

Anne knew she had it though and as it progressed we all started seeing more evidence of its grasp on her. The one part of Anne that wasn’t fading away was her sense of humour. She kept us laughing.

Anne had some favourite sayings and due to the memory lapses we would hear them repeatedly throughout the morning.
We all knew “not to let the door hit us on the way out” and that “the door is not an a-hole, it won’t shut itself”.

She would order a plate of waffles with a mound of whipped cream on top most mornings. Then she would say she didn’t know why they brought it to her because she didn’t even like them. As she lost track of time she would start showing up to the coffee shop hours before us and then wonder why we were all so late.

Almost every day she would cross the street to pick up some things at the grocery store before going home. And every day the thing she seemed to need the most was a carton of ice cream. I don’t know what she did with it all but I suspect if she hadn’t walked so much she would have been as big as a house.

My favourite “Anne” moment came one morning while I was driving her home after coffee. We saw our coffee buddy Jim walking home with his dog. Anne asked me to put the window down so she could whistle at him which I quickly did. As we got closer Anne blew hard through her lips a couple times with only spit coming out when she turned to me and said “I forgot how to whistle” . I thought I would drive off the road I was laughing so hard.

Anne had a thing for sirens. Not an emergency vehicle could get by that coffee shop without Anne checking on which way it was going. She would go all the way out to the highway to track its direction for us and come back with a report.
But the most important thing about Anne is that no dog ever went un-petted while Anne was around. Even the ones who would bite any one else who went near them. She truly loved all the dogs and they knew it.

And we all know that dogs are the best judges of character.


I am sure you all know someone who suffers from the effects of Alzheimers. I know that there are walks and fundraisers in every community. I know it is a sad thing for families to deal with the loss of the parts of a person,  long before their eventual death. I know. I know.

31 comments:

Lou said...

That's a lovely memorial to Anne Lori, she sounds wonderful. It's a truly heartless disease.

Wendy said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend!

xinex said...

I am so sorry about your friend, Lori, but I am sure she will be remembered. She is probably smiling looking down from heaven reading this....Christine

Karen said...

Well, done, Lori. I'm so sorry about your friend. I have a friend from grade school who has early onset Alheimers. Crushing to see, but she never missed a beat at the high school reunion.... she remembered more than anyone else nearly. Many fun times are wedged in her mind, thankfully, for her to enjoy.
Karen
Ladybug Creek

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I am so sorry Lori, this is a devastating disease, and for your friend to have it so young, is even worse. Your words ring of a true friend, one who loved, and appreciated every aspect of a remarkable woman.

I dream of the day they find a cure......

Jen

Tamara Jansen said...

I had an aunt who died from Alzheimers. Horrific to watch her deteriorate. My condolences to her family and friends.

Just an update.....motorhome is still missing. It went with a whole lot of memories, that's for sure!

claudie said...

Well written Lori. Anyone that has a heart like Anne's deserves to be in heaven. I love the fact that all animals loved her. I know she was a great soul.
I few of my Aunty's have this terrible disease. It makes us feel sorry when they are in their own little world. There are Happy One's and angry one's. I'm glad Anne made you laugh.
Great post
Love Claudie
xoxoxo
P.S. I like the "whistle too"

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

I think the most important and also difficult thing a person can do is speak at a loved one's funeral. I take my hat off to you and extend our condolences on your loss. You've lost your friend twice... once when she forgot you and again now. I'm so sorry!

Barb said...

Hi Lori,

I am so sorry for your loss. What a heartfelt tribute.
It is a beotch. My darling MIL suffers from it and Hubby was so sad that she did not recognize him the last time he flew to Co.

My son wanted to thank you for the birthday comment. I read them to him and he was so excited.

Big hugs,
Barb

Alberta said...

What lovely heartfelt words to mark the passing fo your dear friend. Alzheimers steals so much from family and friends. My father passed away last Christmas after his 8 year battle...I lost a bit of him almost every day but on those occassions when the twinkle was back in his eyes,I glowed!

May your memories help you through the days ahead without your friend Anne.

Michelle said...

OH Lori, I am so very sorry. Good friends are so hard to come by and to lose them is difficult.

My Dad passed about and had early Alzheimers too. Odd, but he could remember every person's name in this 3rd grade class picture but he could not remember what happened yesterday. So sad to see him struggle for so long.

MiMi said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. You have give her a great tribute here.

Amy Coffin said...

I am sorry for your loss. You have written a lovely tribute.

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

This is truly a disease to be dreaded--from any perspective. Anne must have been a lovely person and how fortunate you are to have known her. I'm sure she's smiling at this post.

Joanne said...

Lori - thank you for sharing I know how much Anne must have meant to you and that was a beautiful tribute. Loved the part about the ice cream. You really have a cherished group of friends.

Michele said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute.
My father was diagnosed with Alzhiemers 6 years ago, and refuses to take any medication. He has disappeared before my eyes. It's a horribly tragic disease.
We really do lose our loved ones twice...

(( hugs )) to you.

Tamara Jansen said...

MOTORHOME FOUND! One road down Glover road from our house. Inside completely trashed. Ripped out everything. Probably homeless people, the police say. Why would homeless people trash a potential home? Does that make any sense?! How could they have done this right under the nose of the police? ONE ROAD DOWN from our house?! I am feeling nauseous just thinking about what goes on right within one mile of my place, aren't you?

BTW I agree with your rant completely. I just don't know how to get all my photos printed when I have sooooo many :(

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is such a beautiful post! Anne was a sweet and funny soul, and I can tell she enriched your life.

Sue said...

Lori, Your friend Anne is now smiling down upon you from heaven- she knows everything you ever did for her and how much you loved her. It is always nice to have special friends and you were a good one to her. You have my sympathy.
hugs, Sue

Maven said...

This one really got me. My grandmother had alzheimer's. Anne sounds like a charming soul.

Lindy Lou said...

Thank you for writing about the Anne that you knew and remember. I work in a care facility for people with complex health issues, but the one that most of them share are Alzheimer's and related dementias. I have come to deeply care about and respect the residents as I know them, currently. It is a daily struggle for their families and loved-ones to slowly let go of the person that THEY knew before dementia. Thanks again for sharing the memories.

mbkatc230 said...

This is a beautiful tribute Lori. I'm so sorry for your loss, I know that watching a loved one struggle with this horrific disease is one of the most difficult things that you can go through. Bravo to you for your beautiful words. Kathy

Foley said...

Anne would surely have loved your tribute! One of the ladies in my group had to put her husband in the nursing home after Labor Day who has the disease. He still comes out to lunch with us every month and is so cheerful and acts likes he knows us even though we know he doesn't. It is truly sad but as long as he is smiling and laughing it helps everyone.
Terrific post...

@eloh said...

It's horrors are why I started blogging. My first entry, but a 100 posts later, I still can't talk about it.

Alzheimer's Disease Support said...

Alzheimer's Disease is a terrible disease that slowly takes our loved ones. It is imperative that we take a united stand against his terrible brain disease and come up with a cure.

Alzheimer's Disease Support Canada

Keetha Broyles said...

Alzheimers is awful, but early onset is just the worst. I know a gal MY AGE who has been suffering with it already for about ten years!!!! It has completely disrupted her life and her family.

MiMi said...

So sad. :( You're right, it IS a beotch. Or worse.

Tamara Jansen said...

This morning I am sitting at my grandmother's bedside, holding her hand and watching her breathe slowly in and out. At 96, her body is beginning to shut down. What a blessing to be able to sit quietly with her and wait, remembering all the stories she told us about her youth. I heard a rumor that she has told all her stories to a tape recorder, hoping that some day, someone would write about her life. It was full of adventures and sorrows, love and loss. Immigrating to Canada as a young widow at the age of 45 with 6 children was a major decision. All of those children are now grown and there are even 2 great, great grandchildren abiding happily in the land she chose to adopt as her own. She has lived a FULL and BLESSED life. I hope some day her story will be told as she wanted :)

Ali said...

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease. I hope one day soon a cure can be found for it. In the meantime, that was a wonderful tribute to your friend Anne.

Ali

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Hi Lori, it is so nice to meet you. What a wonderful tribute to your friend. Living with this disease through my mother in law and now with Mr. P. there are no words to describe everyday life... thank you for swinging by to see our memory of when times were really good.
hugs ~lynne~

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Lori...

My friend, I am so sorry for your loss! This was such a sweet tribute to Anne and your friendship! Alzheimers really is a terrible disease and 67 years of age is way to young to die!

Thank you for joining in with Sunday Favorites this week! I'm so sorry that I'm just now getting by for a visit...it's just been busy! Hope that my note is finding you well, Darlin'!

Warmest summery wishes,
Chari

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