Posts tagged family
Posts tagged family
Some people ask, “What’s your favorite memory of your childhood?” or “What’s your favorite memory of your father?” Well, I guess I am lucky and cursed. When I think of my childhood, or my father, all I can think of are memories. Not the actual events, the anecdotes, the stories that comprise memories. Nope. All I can think of is memory. Or lack thereof.
My dad has Alzheimer’s Disease.
Does he remember me graduating high school (age 54)…Does he remember me graduating college (age 57)…Does he remember my first job in the same field as him? Does he remember me moving to California? Does he even remember I am IN California? Does he remember Christmases, birthdays, vacations, my name?
He has a form of Early Onset Alzheimer’s, and while first noticed around age 50, his diagnosis was confirmed at 54. A whole whopping ten years younger than the average age of this disease’s onset. It is hard on me (age 27), hard on my brother (age 23), and hardest of all on my mother (age 62…and much more on her later). Alan K. Belgrave, successful self-employed insurance mogul, avid golfer, father, and husband. Dying of Alzheimer’s.
I can sit and mope. I can (and often do) cry and curse and ask “Why my family?” I can bitch, complain, talk, and do nothing. I can (and have) spent thousands of dollars on therapy. I can run through all the “he-never-will’s” of my father and my family’s life (the big one these days for me is that he will never know a grandchild). I can throw money at the various and amazing organizations that support furthering the research and pat myself on the back for being charitable.
But that is not what I choose. My dad didn’t choose Alzheimer’s, and I don’t have to choose to raise my voice. But I do anyways. I lobby Capitol Hill twice a year for funding and reform. I organize, plan, and participate in events. I have spoke on this topic as an “affected child” numerous times. And now, because of some amazing support from friends and loved ones, I choose to tell my story.
I will cry. You might too. But the one thing I will not do is NOTHING.
First and foremost I’d like to dedicate this page to Alan K. Belgrave, my father affected by this awful disease. I love all of my family, and care especially for my father. I have always been a ‘daddy’s-girl’.