I Hate Alzheimer’s

One of the most admirable women I’ve ever known succumbed to a monster named Alzheimer’s disease. I hate it. I get mad when I think about it. I miss her terribly. 

Linda, my mother-in-law, passed away two years ago at the age of 56. That woman was one of the most joyous, kind, loving, and giving women I ever knew. She loved people. Her decline was early and rapid.

Watching such a sweet spirit go from being a rambunctious and passionate busy body, to sitting in a chair staring out a window unable to feed herself, dress herself, have a conversation, with no light in her eyes was heart breaking.

Even through my divorce from her son, we remained close. In fact, we actually got closer. She was devastated by our divorce. I moved from Dallas to Austin shortly thereafter, but would call or text her often. She would come visit the boys, her grandchildren, in Austin and each time she just seemed…different. Those texts and calls were fewer and further between. I learned later that what I always thought was just her being care-free, was actually signs of early onset Alzheimer’s.

I remember visiting her in Dallas at the facility she was in and my ex-husband, Kevin, had warned me that her decline was pretty rapid and to prepare myself. When I saw her, I immediately started crying and she started making grunting noises and looking at me while kicking her feet. I looked at Kevin with tears in my eyes for him to tell me if I needed to leave or if I had upset her or something. He started tearing up and said, “She does that when she is happy. She missed you.”

I reached out and held her warm hand wiped the drool from her mouth, and started telling her about the boys soccer game and what me and the boys had been up to.

Then she zoned out, no expression or emotion. I looked at Kevin afraid that I had caused it. He just shook his head and through gritted teeth said, “And welcome to this (insert expletive) disease…” I couldn’t help but cry. I cried for Kevin, our boys, her sister, her husband, and selfishly, myself. I was able to visit her a few more times after that day and each one more painful than the time before.

When Kevin called to tell me she had finally passed away, I was relieved. The woman whose brain was destroyed by Alzheimer’s was just not the same and she was never going to be the same.

Linda’s last days, few years actually, were no way to live. Her belief was that someday she would be dancing in heaven with her mom and dad and I knew that day had finally come for her. 

I’ve done some pretty great things in my lifetime. Nothing as honorable as when her family asked me to write her obituary and eulogy. I hope that I am to my children and grandchildren, half the woman she was. Many people have great passion for certain charities and causes. I am definitely a proponent of Alzheimer’s research and finding a cure. I walk the walks wearing my purple and thinking of Linda. To have known her is to have loved her. We’ll never forget Linda Lee from Tennessee. 

Have you or your family been affected by Alzheimer’s? Please share in the comments. 

Khaki has a business degree from Saint Leo University and by day utilizes that with her tenure in Corporate America and is currently serving as the Controller for an Austin nano-technology start-up. By night and every other waking hour, she is the taxi driver, team manager, room mom, tutor, chef, logistics coordinator, event planner, referee, housekeeper, and single mother to her 3 teen-aged boys, elementary aged daughter and 4-year-old standard poodle. She moonlights as a writer to ease the creative and sarcastic voices that constantly banter in her head. A native Texan that has tried to finish reading the same book for years, is fueled by coffee, and loves watching NBA basketball and professional soccer.

1 COMMENT

  1. So beautiful. What an honor to write Linda’s obituary and eulogy. My dad died of Alzheimer’s at 64, and it was so hard. She loved you, and you are being looked over. Love to you and your family. And what a wonderful example of co-parenting and co-loving.

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