Everyone has their cause

Last Friday, I was in my car on the way out of Tim Hortons listening to the morning news on CBC when they started talking about the possibility of a vaccine for Alzheimer disease in the fairly reasonable future.
I cried. It wasn’t a lot of tears, but it was there.
Now, I’ll admit I’m over-tired, leading to some emotional responses to things, but these tears had a reason behind them.
My mother.
On May 16, Fort Frances is holding the “Walk for Memories”—almost exactly a year after my grandmother died with the disease.
The walk is not really a sport, it’s not the sort of thing I usually would delve into, and it’s not a marathon or anything. It’s just people walking in support of a cause.
But this cause happens to be one that is very near to my heart. It’s actually a cause that I wear on my skin.
When my grandmother got sick, or, at least, when we were allowed to know what was really going on, she constantly would ask us not to forget her. After taking some time in the summer and writing a long piece about the disease and the Alzheimer Society of Canada, I got a tattoo on the small of my back.
A forget-me-not.
I put it there as a symbol of my Tutu’s request—and as a reminder that I am vulnerable to the disease.
More vulnerable because when I was a child, my Granny Scanlon also had the disease. She lived until I was about eight years old, but I never knew who she really was and I have doubts she ever knew who I was.
My older half-siblings share memories of her that resemble nothing of the woman I knew.
But it also is a reminder that while I am vulnerable, my mother is vulnerable first. I’m already terrified of watching my mother go through what she was tortured to see her mother go through.
It is not necessarily a genetic disease, but there is a genetic component.
Alzheimer is the most unfair disease in the world as far as I’m concerned. You lose someone long before they’re actually gone—sometimes years before. My grandmother forgot the present more and more as she asked us about the past.
She always asked my sister and I if we had seen her parents recently and how they were doing (we lied). Telling her they had been dead long before we were born only would cause more pain and confusion.
It’s been estimated that the rate of the disease among Canadians will double in the next 30 years—and two-thirds of those affected are women.
The disease should serve as a reminder to everyone to record memories you want to share because sometimes they just get erased.
Everyone has their cause. This happens to be mine.

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