Getting slapped by the Universe…

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (Photo credit: AJC1)

Hurts. I’m not going to lie.

May 5th would have been my dad’s 71st birthday.  Instead, he’s been physically gone over 2 years.  Mentally, it was many years before, having succumbed to early-onset Alzheimer’s.  He didn’t really  know who I was in the end, but I was there with him when he passed.  That was a good thing, which the universe seemed to know.

For the past two years I have been at peace with my dad’s passing, but recently I have been wondering, “Do I remember my dad’s laugh? Or what made him laugh? How was his smile?”.  The farther the anniversary, the more I fear I am forgetting. Which in context, is a very scary thing.  And when I get scared, I get busy. Luckily, I have two young children so time to think is a luxury.  I have put austerity measures into place.

Earlier this week, I got a call from the Alzheimer’s Association asking if I would volunteer for the 2012 Memory Walk.  I had done the walk for the past 2 years, so it was not out of the blue, but I hadn’t even thought about the walk yet.  Things that happen in October are lucky if they make my radar by September these days.  Ultimately, it was fine. It was busy work, not thoughtful work necessarily. I assembled my team page, sent my emails, and posted my plea for support on Facebook.  I can now ignore it for a bit (maybe till September?).  The universe was winding me up a bit, throwing me the walk just after my dad’s birthday.  Well played, Universe, but a soft blow.

Then the news today. A WAR on Alzheimer’s! New clinical trials that show some real potential.  A commitment from our country to recognize this epidemic that will triple over the next few decades.  Why was this news so important to me? My father had early-onset Alzheimer’s. My aunt is suffering the disease now. Alzheimer’s is in my genes. Literally. If what the research says is true, I may be carrying genes that would give me a 50% chance of having Alzheimer’s. Crap odds.  Even if I don’t need the cure, my brother, sister, cousin, or my children might.  Scary and hopeful at the same time, Universe is winding up for the punch here.

Then the punch.

A fellow blogger announces her new website: It’s a beautiful site, a place to share stories about your dad, reading the stories of other members.  It’s club with an initiation that makes hazing look like sandbox play.  It’s a reminder to remember. If you can.


Winner: Universe

Let me tell you about my dad. His smile was the same as my son’s.  He laughed at silly stuff, unimportant things, and mostly himself.  His laugh made other people laugh because of its genuine tenor and kind intention.   It sounded young, like good days. The early days, the days before Alzheimer’s.

You can run, but you can’t hide from what you know in your heart you must do.  I needed to think about my dad so that I would know that I do remember the important stuff, if not the details.  While initially a little painful, it was ultimately a good match, one that I am glad I lost.

About Blurb My Enthusiasm
40-something-yrs-old and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. My resume reads like a food court menu: educator, dog walker, product manager, executive director, managing editor - and that's just the notable titles. I entertain all offers and consider myself up for the job until someone tells me I'm not. I've never been fired. What I lack in direction, I make up for in enthusiasm.

13 Responses to Getting slapped by the Universe…

  1. Eva says:

    Reblogged this on where'smyT-backandotherstories and commented:
    A daughter’s recollection of her Dad and his Alzheimer’s Disease and what she is doing to keep his memory alive. From the blog of Blurb My Enthusiasm

  2. megalagom says:

    More people should be as involved and concerned about issues like this. Even if it isn’t Alzheimers- what ever touches thier life in anyway. I lost my mom when I was 10 and those early memories are hard to hold onto, so I can relate to that fear of forgetting. Good luck-stay strong and involved

    • I’m sorry to hear about your mom, megalagom. It’s never easy, but you are right, it’s important we stay involved and connected. It’s a way to remember, and a way to impact real change. Thank you for taking the time to read and share, it means a lot that others connect to this as well.

  3. familyfriendly says:

    I lost my Dad when I was 13, and although it was decades ago, it’s great to remember all the good times. Like your Dad, he always had a smile and laughs to share.

    • I am sorry to hear about your Dad, familyfriendly. Smiles and laughter are wonderful memories and your comment encourages me that I will not forget these things as the years go by. Thank you!

  4. kimjoy24 says:

    Beautiful post and thanks for providing the Dead Dads Club link, I did not know about that.

    • Thanks, kimjoy! I see you lost your Dad so recently, and I am really sorry, I’m glad you found the link helpful. I hope you will consider submitting something. I am working on my submission now. Can’t ignore the universe can I?

  5. letstalkaboutfamily says:

    I share your interest and concern. My dad has Alzheimer’s. Keep remembering. Write your memories to share with your children. Save your favorite pictures too and note what they make you recall. It will help you remember the good times and will tell your children the stories too.

    • Thanks for the great suggestions! We worked so hard on books for him when he was first diagnosed, it’s interesting how the tides have changed. I am sorry to hear about your dad. It’s a heartbreaking disease, and I hope you and your family have the support you need, which is so important and often overlooked.

  6. Pingback: The Brain Shock « The Dementia Diary

  7. Pingback: The universe is at it again. « Blurb My Enthusiasm

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