For a long time, I used to think about my mom’s Alzheimer’s mostly in terms of how it affected me.
How sad it was that she was diagnosed so young, when I was only 25 years old. How sad it was for me to lose my mom this way. How sad it was that there were so many things I would never get to do with her, milestones she would never be a part of.
As time went on, something changed. I realized my mom having Alzheimer’s was less about me and more about her.
To focus on the fact that Alzheimer’s took my mom away from me is a little bit selfish, right?
What about what it has taken away from my mom? What about all of the things she never got to do or be a part of, all of the memories she has lost or never got the chance to make?
It has taken so much away from her. This journey is not about me feeling sorry for myself and what I’ve lost. This journey is about her.
I refuse to let her Alzheimer’s take away my love for her or my gratitude for everything she has given me in my life.
I refuse to let it overshadow the rest of her life before she was diagnosed.
I refuse to let it define her, to define our relationship, our time, our love.
I refuse to let it ruin our time together as mother and daughter. I refuse to let it take that away from her, too.
My mom does not deserve that. She doesn’t deserve any of this.
I refuse to make the rest of her life about this horrific disease. Instead, I will make it about love.
I will shower her with so much love for every minute she has left on this earth.
I will love her right through to the very bitter end.
I will show up for her. I mean, really show up for her. Purposely, mindfully, intentionally. I will make our time together about her, not me or my pain or my sadness.
The end of her life is about her, not me.
I will do my best to make sure she is surrounded by love and light and family, by everything that has always been the most important to her. I will make sure she knows love. True and unconditional and never-ending love.
Her final days will not be defined by Alzheimer’s. They will be defined by love.
And then when she is gone, I will keep loving her.
I will keep showing up for her.
I will keep living purposely, mindfully, and intentionally for her.
I will do my best to live a life that does her pain justice.
I will be her legacy.
Because that’s what she deserves.