The Longest Day 2018
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Claire's Story
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Claire's Story

Close your eyes ... Imagine this you are 8 years old playing with friends, and then your grandma comes over. She calls you Lydia, your cousin's name. "Oh, Nana always does that; it's no big deal. "She might forget her keys or her glasses.

Fast forward two years. Nana doesn't even remember your name. She doesn't recognize you, but instead thinks you are some random kid coming to hug her. She cries and sings all the time. You are only 10, and you don't know what is happening. "Aren't grandma's supposed to be there for you? To fix your hair and to bake cookies with you? Well at least I have my Dad's mom, Granny. She can do that stuff with me."

Fast forward another two years to June 25, 2005.  It's Nana's funeral. I didn't cry at all. Not during the visitation, or when my mom, sister or dad cried. Not when we buried her or when we put the rose on her. Nope. Nada. Nothing. Don't get me wrong, it's not because I didn't love my Nana. I just had said goodbye that summer when I was 8. Unlike everyone else who was just beginning to grieve, I was done grieving. That I think is the one good thing about AD. You have time to say goodbye. Well, I had already said goodbye.

Fast forward three months. Dad says, "Girls come in here." Uh oh, I thought, what did I do now? "Granny, has AD." Oh no. You've got to be kidding me! That's not fair, I'm only 12 years old. How come BOTH of my grandmas had it? It's not fair! Well, life's not fair.
Fast forward to now, or two years later. I am 14 and grandmother less. Well, not really. My papaw is remarried (he was before Nana died; they divorced in '80 something), and I have my Miss Becky. Now I hold on TIGHT to her.

My dad's Granny is still "here"; well she knows my name. We grannysat her today, and she got lost in my house, a house that she has been to probably a thousand times. The sicker she gets, the more I push her away. I know it's sad and unfair. But you have to see, I am careful about who I let my heart go to. I have already said goodbye to Granny too. I will enjoy the time left that I can hold her hand, and sit on her lap and hug her. But she isn't my Granny. She isn't mine. I don't know who she is. But she definitely isn't MY granny.
I don't want pity. I look at life like a glass half full. Hey, I have a grandpa, two actually. Two parents, numerous cousins, friends and an AWESOME sister. My life is good. Could it be better? Yes. Could I be sad? Yes. Am I going to be? No. Why waste my life being sad about something I can't change. Yes, people are researching a cure for AD. But is there one now? No. Will there be one in time to save Granny? No. If I help the Alzheimer's Association, will there be one in time to save someone else's Granny? Yes. So I choose to live my life to the fullest, because I know that I may not have as long as I want to have. It's not fair that this happened to me. It's not. I won't let that stop me. I won't let anything stop me.
This is what my grandmas have taught me: To never let anyone or anything stop me.


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.