This might get sad.
If you’ve spent any amount of time reading my blog, you are probably aware that my mom has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed about four years ago now. I remember because it was during my first year of teaching when we got the official diagnosis. She had been showing symptoms since her late forties, but the doctors kept saying too young, too young.
They said she was too young for about four years. I don’t remember the way the news was delivered. I’m not sure if someone called me or if it was in a message. I don’t remember if it was my dad or my sister who finally broke the news. I do remember that after I found out I went numb for a second.
Then I wanted to scream.
Then I wanted to punch something as hard as I could. I punched my pillow and it was satisfying for a second and then that seemed so completely irrelevant.
And then I just cried instead.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know it was coming, we all knew it was going to be Alzheimer’s. It’s just that, the official diagnosis made it so real, so undeniable.
I remember feeling so alone. I don’t know why I couldn’t talk to anyone. There were people I could call, my roommate in the next room, even. There was just no way for me to communicate the way I felt. I didn’t even know how to try.
Before my mom got diagnosed I had a morbid mantra I would say to myself. It was before I’d do something stupid or something I knew I probably shouldn’t. I’d just think, “I’m just going to grow up to forget this anyway.”
We have Alzheimer’s on both sides of the family, my mom’s and dad’s. It feels kind of inevitable, and if it’s not me, probably my brother or sister. It’s a heavy weight to carry that thought.
Maybe a breakthrough will be made and a cure will be found, or at least a more powerful way to slow the progress. Maybe we’ll all get lucky and discover that gene passed us by.
Or maybe, in just twenty years or so, just like my mom, I’ll start forgetting.