Aryn Gatto is new to the Memory Ball team this year. Aryn’s passion and enthusiasm have been a huge gain for the Memory Ball team and we welcome her big smile and creative spirit. Here are some words Aryn shared with us about her grandmother, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, and some reflections on their relationship.
I have often thought that the following Shakespeare quotation aptly suits my Baubie: “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”
Albeit a bit on the shorter side, my Baubie has always demonstrated remarkable strength. Having lost her husband at a young age, my Baubie raised three children, including my wonderful mother, all on her own. She took care of us as kids just about every Saturday for as long as I can remember. She taught us how to tie our shoes, read to us, and took us on walks and little adventures around her neighbourhood. She always ensured that we left her house well-fed, made sure that we didn’t go outside with wet hair on those cold, winter days, and sent us home with a Dixie cup full of treats. These are the little things that I know I, and my sisters, will always cherish.
All this to say, although it is difficult to watch our Baubie change and her Alzheimer’s disease progress, she has played a big part in my life and who I am today – that will never change.
How often do you find yourself saying “remember that time when?” or “I’ll never forget that moment when…” or thinking to oneself ” I really shouldn’t forget to do this tomorrow”? Now consider –
Not being able to formulate those thoughts…
Not being able to articulate your ideas…
Not remembering those precious moments that made us laugh, cry, smile, sigh.
It’s hard to imagine. I know that I take this ability to recall such things for granted; my ability to make memories that I cherish for years to come; my ability to remember the names of my siblings, the smell of spring, my favourite musician, even the password for my email account at work.
Alzheimer’s disease is such a tragically desolate, heart-wrenching disease, not only affecting the person experiencing it firsthand, but the ones who love them so dearly. Coerced to accept a new reality wherein they watch, helplessly, all that made their loved one who they once were vanish.
Alzheimer’s and my reflections upon this disease have made me realize how transient, how delicate, how precious life truly is. Let’s do all we can, not only to support medical and scientific advancements, but also to ensure that those with Alzheimer’s disease can live life in comfort, safely, and with dignity. Let’s be patient, be kind, and cherish our memories and the wonders of the human mind both for ourselves and for the ones we love <3.