16 Feb FEBRUARY 16, 2013 | Ripple Effect
by Kathryn Fudurich
As a 24 year old I feel the pressures of most twenty-something’s. The pressure we put on ourselves to build a strong foundation as fast as we can for our own careers in the hopes of soon living independently from our parents. Living selfishly basically defines this time of our life and it should be that way! My life as I saw it post-University was just that. I was 21 when my Mom as diagnosed with a variation of early on-set Alzheimer’s and everything I thought I’d do and wanted for myself post-grad basically evaporated.
The ripple effect of this quickly spread out into different parts of my life, hardest hit was my social life. I resented everyone around me, apart from my brothers, because no one could relate. I hope I was never outwardly mean for something someone else couldn’t control but I didn’t feel like being the happy person people knew me as. I wasn’t happy. I had no patience for the problems of others unless they were comparable to mine. I was disengaged. I felt that as a consequence of this disease being so widely misunderstood, my family and others directly affected lacked the empathy and support from society that we needed. I’ve never wanted pity but I want people to be educated. People need to know that right now every single Alzheimer’s case is terminal and it’s a long and unpredictable slope until the end.
I’m happier now and do my best to slowly accept things as they come and try not to be angry at the situation because it’s so unfair. The hard part for me is that others cannot grasp the fact that I have lost my Mom. They see her as she is now, physically here, and simply cannot comprehend. My heart breaks almost every moment I spend with her to see how much has changed. The cycle of realizing the loss of my Mom, no time to heal because there’s still a version of her to continuously get to know, then loosing her all over again will continue until she is gone. We want her to be happy because she deserves that but we struggle to keep her company when we all have our own lives to focus on, we struggle to make sure her daily needs are met when constantly new needs arise, and it often feels impossible to keep up and when she gets sad or upset it’s paralyzing. It is a full-time job on it’s own demanding non-stop output of absolutely all the energy you have left in you after a day of work. At that point how do you not break down?
I’m part of Memory Ball so that we can help those living with the disease and their caregivers. So that the time that hasn’t already been robbed from you can still be spent happily.
Thank you for helping my family and me.