Alzheimer's, I Hate You

Alzheimer's, Here's my Middle Finger

As the holidays roll around, I cannot help but think about the things I'm thankful for...and the things I'm not-so-grateful for.

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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.

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.

Fuck you.

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.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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My Mom Is My Biggest Weakness In The Best Way Possible

Although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend.

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My parents are everything to me. They raised me to be independent, strong, smart, and hard working. They made sure to keep me in line, to ensure that I would be respectful and responsible. They raised me to be prepared for the world before I graduated high school. For everything they've done, I'm very grateful.

Focusing on my mom more specifically, she is my weakness. By that I mean, I can go to her with anything and I know she's willing to listen, to be open, and she won't impart judgment.

My mom always knows how to calm me down, but she is the one person who can also make me cry harder. I don't mean this in a bad way. It's just that whenever I've had a tough day or my anxiety has been heightened by some ordeal, I know that if I see my mom or if I even call her over the phone, the waterworks come flooding. I don't know what it is about my mom that makes me feel so emotional, so vulnerable. Each time I go to her, it's almost as if I'm a kid again, crawling into her mother's arms, seeking a nurturing soul to tell me that everything will be okay.

Sometimes I even avoid calling my mom when I'm in a rut because I refuse to cry or feel weak. For instance, if I had a problem, I'd avoid talking to her about it. If a week goes by, I'll update her on my problems, and begin crying about it (even though I was already over it beforehand). My mom can bring out anything from me. She laughs when I tell her this because she knows that no matter how old her baby girl gets, she'll always need her mama.

I think as I've gotten older, I've realized how much more my parents mean to me. As a kid, I always felt like they were against me. I felt as if they didn't want me to do anything and didn't want me to grow. As an adult, I realize it's the exact opposite. My parents have always wanted what's best for me, and because I've grown to understand this, I feel so much closer to them.

I feel as though now, although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend. She's someone I can go to when I feel down, someone I can go to for a good laugh. She's so much better than me in so many ways. She's outgoing, loud, obnoxious, smart, and is always seeing the good in situations. When I talk about my mom to other people, they're always so interested in meeting with her or talking with her. When they finally get the chance to, they're instantly drawn to her character. They're drawn to her laughter. I kid you not, my mom can light up a room in seconds. She is always the life of the party. It sometimes makes me jealous when people find out how amazing my mother is because I swear they'd rather be friends with her than me.

What people don't see is her struggles. They don't see the pain she goes through with her ongoing injury. They don't see that not only does it take a physical toll, but also an emotional toll. She hides it really well because that's what parents are "supposed to do." My mom is the strongest person I know and to see the two contrasts of her is astonishing. To think that someone so full of life can also battle personal struggles, it's hard to see, especially because she's my mom and all I want is the best for her. One part of my mom struggles while the other part of her is so vibrant, so full of life, so sassy.

I don't know how she's put up with all of the hardships in her life. I've never seen someone work so hard and refuse to fail. She refuses to be taken advantage of. I've never seen someone as amazing as my mother. She can do anything.

I think my mom looks down on herself sometimes. I think, like any woman, she sees imperfections. What I don't think she sees, that I wish she would, is the tenacity she has. I want her to see herself the way I do: beautiful, strong, courageous, sassy, outgoing. I could go on and on about how much my mom inspires me and how she's made me appreciate her in more ways than one.

Mom, thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I hope you know how much Rachel, Vanessa and I all love you. I hope you know that no matter what struggles we go through, you are our rock. You hold the fort down and you're always there to make sure we're good, even when you aren't yourself. Thank you for always thinking of us, for believing in us, and for never turning your back. I love you more than you know.

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