“Grandma, Grandma… look at me!” She shrieked as she ran into the room. “Do you like my dress? Am I pretty?”
I grabbed her and twirled her around. “You, my dear, are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen” I replied.
“I’m going to get married someday in a princess dress, Grandma. It will be the bestest day ever! You will have a petty dress too!” Then she stopped, looked at me with a bit of worry, and slowly asked,” You will be there, right, Grandma?”
My granddaughter knew that her mom’s grandma, my mother, was not able to be at her wedding. She had heard her mom telling the story of how her grandma was sick and couldn’t make it to her special day. While her mom understood why this was the case, it broke her heart not to have her grandmother there. I realized that was where my granddaughter’s question stemmed from.
Alzheimer’s disease was what prevented my mom from being at my daughter’s wedding. The awful disease robbed her from the ability to even know who her granddaughter was. I was sad for my daughter the day she took her vows. While sitting in the beautifully decorated church, for a moment, I wondered if I would be in the same situation with my grandchildren someday.
But I had an advantage that my mother hadn’t had. Because of my worry, I had been diligent in learning about Alzheimer’s. I was equipped with the knowledge of what to do to reduce my risk of a diagnosis. I had been putting that knowledge into action for a few years and I was confident I was doing all I could to keep my brain intact for the long haul.
Of course, no one can guarantee anything in this life. But, because of the actions I had been taking, I was able to look into my granddaughters’ eyes and say, “Sweetheart, I want nothing more than to be with you when you get married and I promise you, I am doing everything I can to not get sick. You don’t need to worry.”
With that, she began to spin in her dress, smiling from ear to ear as the dress grew bigger with every turn. “I love you, Grandma” she said. “And I love you more than you know, Honey” I replied.
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