Oh, Dad, I want to go now.
There are times, often just minutes, sometimes days, where I am so tired I can barely move. Not physically tired, though there is some of that, too, but mentally tired, so brain-weary from stress and heartache and saying the daily goodbyes that I want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and never leave.
Get away? Oh, Dad, I wish we could. Is there somewhere to go where Alzheimer's Disease doesn't shatter lives, where family love isn't strained by the stress of caregiving, where hearts don't skip a beat (or three) every time the phone rings, where feeling happy instead of anxious -- even for just a couple of days -- is no longer a dream, but a blessed reality? Because if there is, I would fight heaven and hell to get us there.
Sometimes, people ask me, "Why do you write such sad things for everybody to read?" And my answer is, "Because it matters."
What's happening to my father is sad. What's happening to millions of others with Alzheimer's is sad. And the fact that Alzheimer's Disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed* is more than sad -- it's terrifying.
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's Disease today. How many more families must suffer before we take our heads out of the sand and DO something about it?
Oh, Dad, I want to go now. I want to run as far and as fast as I can.
But I won't. I'll stay and fight.
For you. And for others like you.
I'm not the daughter of a Marine Corps Sargent for nothing. ;)