(left to right) Dan Johnson, Barbara Johnson, Julie Malson, Joe Malson, Kelly Johnson, Michael Johnson and Ian Johnson
Life is All About How You Handle Plan B - a self reflection by Barbara Johnson
The family began to notice things about the way I was going about my business. It was taking me longer to get things accomplished in general. Things were looking more disorganized around the house. And I was misplacing things. I spent a lot of time just looking for things.
I was also helping plan my daughter, Julie’s, wedding. She is a very detail oriented and organized young woman. There were many things we talked about – like her wedding gown that was being altered and redesigned and whether she should or should not wear the veil, or have it redesigned.
We went shopping and found the wedding shoes first thing! They were just what she was looking for. Uncomfortable. Fashion before comfort. Julie’s Godmother came along to share in the joy of picking out the dress. The shopping day included a once a year sale on selected dresses at an exclusive bridal shop. The shop put on a mini Bridal fashion show and among the dresses, Julie fell in love with “the one”.
Julie and I discussed the price and wondered if we should check a few more places. But knowing how much she loved the dress, her Godmother began writing out a check for the dress. “This is my gift to the bride,” she said. After some tears and hugs, we left the shop with the dress and celebrated at a restaurant for dinner. Cheers all around – it was a memorable time!
Her Godmother threw Julie a wonderful wedding shower at her home in Brookfield. I sat with two old friends, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the gifts and at time same time keeping a watchful eye on my two year old grandson who was chosen to be the ring bearer. Julie’s Godmother’s chef friend prepared the luncheon. Her photographer friend snapped pictures. Musicians played harp and violins on the lawn. It was a lovely day and went by too quickly.
This was just the beginning of the time when my immediate family began noticing the little things that I was forgetting. As time went on, there were more and more details to remember. The family noticed.
The wedding was beautiful. And I do, to this day, remember every detail from the first dress Julie tried on, to the last guest at the wedding reception. But I am still in denial that I forgot anything to do with the wedding.
However, when my family wanted me to be diagnosed and I didn’t do well on the tests, it was then that I could no longer deny the Alzheimer’s history in my family – my maternal grandmother and her sister, my mother, and my aunt.
After coming to grips with the diagnosis, I have come to this conclusion – I am OK. Life goes on. I am taking my medications. I formed a team for the 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer’s and I am living with some dementia.
I am no longer in denial. Through research, I want to help find answers to help put an end to this mind debilitating disease. My hope is to help find answers and a cure for our future generations who may also carry this genetic disease.