It’s a day I don’t think I will ever forget. I arrived at my parents’ house with packages of food as I did every week. This time I came with my three kids. They were off from school and they wanted to visit their Nana. As soon as she opened the door I knew something was wrong. She was angry. I wasn’t sure why, but I could understand why she could be angry. My father just died, she was alone. She was also a Holocaust survivor. The guilt of her survival tormented her throughout her life; her nights were full with interrupted sleep and her days usually included the retelling of the same nightmarish stories. I remember that day so well because on that day I knew this was something more. Something that proved to be life altering. The anger was worse than before as was her paranoia. She threw all the packages of food out the door. I tried to calm her down; I tried to shield my children. They scrambled to pick up the fruit that was rolling down the steps as I tried to reason with her. It was useless. I felt so bad. I felt so bad that my kids had to see her this way. We got back in to the car, tears streaming down our face. We couldn’t understand what was happening; we didn’t know it was Alzheimer’s.
I am walking to create awareness, to raise funds to help find a treatment and provide support to caregivers who are subject to the devastation of Alzheimer’s long after the caregiving is over.