There used to be so much color on holidays. Everything was vivid, bright, and happy. It seemed like there was never anything wrong. The swirls of the leaves in fall and the transition to cold Christmas snow used to hold my favorite memories.
I would be with family, extended family. The emotions in the air were always that of sheer joy and enjoyment with one another. We were just happy for our health and elated to be in the company of people we didn't get to see that often. Thanksgiving and Christmas were truly magical days to experience with the greatest people of all: my family.
But, Alzheimer's, you took that away.
You've left those memories in the photographs that lay in our family albums.
You took that joy from my mom.
You took the happiness of the holidays, and, more, importantly, life in general. You stole her independence, her job, her memory.
She struggles most days to say what she needs to. I've gotten into the habit of finishing her sentences, so she doesn't have to rest her face in her hands and wonder about what word comes next or what tangent she was on before she got derailed. She leaves kitchen cabinets open when she attempts to cook food, and sometimes forgets why she's standing at the stove.
My mom asks me the same things over and over, just trying to understand what my schedule is like for the week. She'll obsess over tiny details until things get done. Hell, I had to get my passport for a class next semester, and she asked me if I got it until it mailed to my parents' house.
My mom sometimes can't remember my birthday. I had to write mine, my brother's, and my dad's in her Notes on her phone. She also forgets that those are written there.
My mom sits at home all the time. She's condemned to prime-time reruns until my father gets home. She eats blueberries and yogurt every day because her doctor says it could help to fight you. She has coloring books that she doesn't touch, and hatred in her heart for you, this damned disease. She hates that she can't go anywhere on her own, that she can't drive. She hates the amount of medications she has in her pill-calendar that my dad fills for her every night. She especially hates when she doesn't remember to take them right away.
But's not her fault at all. It's yours.
My dad hates that it's that way too, but he'll never stop taking care of her.
I wouldn't even be able to write a list of all the things that man does for our family, especially for his wife. The list would be too long, but you know that. While some things he needs help with, like remembering the passwords to accounts he didn't control before or how to print screenshots from a cell phone, this man does it all. He's truly the best father that I could ever ask for, but, Alzheimer's, I knew that before you stepped foot in our door.
You've stolen the better times from my mom, but you've picked the wrong family to mess with.
I call her almost every day to make sure she's okay. I reassure her that everything is not her fault, but yours. I remind her that she isn't what's eating at her memory, and she is still the woman who raised me with my father.
But, I know that one day she won't be.
As the tears stream down my face, I know that's true. And it's all because of you, Alzheimer's.
You're the reason she's quiet at get-togethers. She's fearful that she will stumble through her words or her actions. She never used to hesitate to talk or say how she felt, or question things. You took away her confidence. You make the magic disappear, the color fade. Holidays will never be the same. But most importantly:
You're taking away my mom.
God, I hate that's all that I can say. You have no cure; you have no way to ease the pain. You are the only thing I genuinely hate in this world.
But you'll never make me stop loving her. She is my mom no matter what you take away. She is mine and will always be mine. You'll never have all of her, never. I'll make damn sure of that.
Happy holidays, Alzheimer's. Here's my middle finger.