"Wind Beneath My Wings"

Ode to Alzheimer's Victims

Hello, my name is Jane John Doe
I am male and I am female
I am black and I am white: I am Indian and Hispanic.
I am old and I am young.
I am Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Agnostic.
I am rich and poor, and I am middle class.
I am educated and I am uneducated.
I was a professional and I was a blue collar worker.
I am a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, wife and a husband.
I am me and I am you; I am one of millions of Americans.
I am a victim of Alzheimer's Disease, and I am losing my memory.
Sometimes I do not know who or where I am,
or even who my family is.
Sometimes I cannot talk, and sometimes I forget to walk.
My personality has changed and I no longer
behave the way I once did.
I know I must be a problem to others.
I sometimes make a terrible mess of things,
my clothes, my food, and even the toliet.
I am afraid, of people, of things, even the smallest
of tasks, but most of all I am afraid of me.
I am no longer who I once was and I don't understand why.

What I do remember is love and dignity.
I know I have the right to that still.
I need a warm, safe place to be, and I need to be loved.
I need people to help me with living my life until I die.
And when that time comes, I need to leave my family,
whoever they are, strong enough to go on with their lives.
For they, too, need the freedom to live out their lives
with love and dignity.

by Vera H. Guise,
Executive Director, ADRDAC-WNC
from Caregivers, the Alzheimer's Support
Group Newsletter, Anniston, Alabama

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