On this Saturday I join others in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s


The day is here and today is the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the Central Alabama Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association!

fight alzz

I’m so excited for today for so many reasons.

I worked for the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter for 6 years and volunteered for 2 years prior to working with them.

Alzheimer’s is very personal for me as several of my family members have suffered from and even died from this disease. I have cared for many friends and others with this disease. I have consulted and worked with families to help manage the stages of this fatal disease. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease and eventually passed away 5 years ago after suffering with it for at least 10 years. His sister, my great aunt, had died from the disease 11 years prior and both of his parents died from Alzheimer’s. There was no chapter in Alabama, and the Alzheimer’s group that serviced the Birmingham area didn’t cover northern Alabama, and the Alzheimer’s Association of Middle Tennessee didn’t cover the area where he and my grandmother lived. They were in limbo as far as services and most of the local doctors were not as educated on the disease as they are now, though some smaller town doctors sometimes, not all and please I don’t want to get slayed for speaking the truth as I know it, do not know as much as is needed about the disease to help their patients.

This is where the Alzheimer’s Association becomes a guiding light for many. Their 800 # (1-800-272-3900) is a 24/7 hotline to help people any time day or night. You can also find them at www.alz.org. They may not always be to find you a support group or doctor close to you, however they are there to help assist you in time of need and make suggestions of where you go in your region, as well as give you tips and just be a voice on the end of the line when you truly need someone who can understand and talk to you.

I have been talking, calling, emailing since about 2007 to the national office about a chapter in Central Alabama. We have part of the northern section of the state covered by the Middle TN chapter and Lower Alabama covered by the Panhandle chapter but the rest was pretty much hanging out with no assistance.

At the end of 2013, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Alabama was opened and I have volunteered, and badgered them for employment, since I moved here in 2014! To say I am thrilled is an understatement.

That is why todays walk means so much to me.

From the Alzheimer’s Association, the 2015 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures:

  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
  • It’s the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Almost two thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women
  • Only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers report being told of their diagnosis versus more than 90% of people with the four most common types of cancer have been told of their diagnosis
  • Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined
  • In 2015, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $226 billion
  • By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion

alz global epidemic

The disease is not pretty, it isn’t sexy or isn’t something a lot of people want to even talk about. Alzheimer’s knows no borders or boundaries, it takes people of all races, classes, socioeconomic background and all genders. It destroys their lives and the lives of those who care for them.

I’ve noticed several ads for Alzheimer’s medications on television recently and it angers me because it makes it seem as if “Oh you get Alzheimer’s you can take a pill and go on with your life.” If it were only that easy. There isn’t a magical pill. We are closer now than 10 years ago but we do not yet have a cure or even a way to stop the progression of the disease. It does “help” but unfortunately it doesn’t help everyone.

I want to walk, volunteer, spread awareness and help funding to prevent, halt and eventually find a cure for this terminal disease. I want my son and any grandchildren I may have to live in a world without Alzheimer’s.

So today I walk in memory of my grandfather, my Papa. Papa’s Posse will be at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Railroad Park volunteering and spreading hope! *Photo below of my beloved Papa & GrandMaMa

PAPA POSSE

Now I just hope the rains end prior to the walk and that we have massive attendance!

For my part, the Fabulously Graceless Lady Maos is all in!

Keep Hope Alive!

Quiet time, me time and missing the noise


I remember growing up we did not have all of the technology and all of the options we do today.

Yes my mom talked on the phone, but it was attached to a cord and plugged into the wall. If you wanted privacy, you went to another room or she told us kids to go outside or in our rooms.

Our rooms held our dearest treasures and outside held fun and adventures.

We lived on a cul-de-sac when I from the time I was 18 months old until I was 8. That would be the time when we acquired my younger brother!

We then moved to a newer subdivision from the time I was 8 until around 18 in which I met my best friend/sister and where the majority of my teenage years played out.

When my parents moved again, it was so my brother could go to a different school since I was graduating and he was about to go to high school.

No matter where we lived, we were required to “be creative” and let my parents have peace during the days of summer and school breaks.

We always did many things together as a family such as dinner each night, church on Sundays, vacations, family gatherings, parties – you get the idea.

But we also had “quiet times” and somehow I always treasured those times.

I don’t require “background” noise like a lot of people do.

And let me be clear, I do like to put on the radio or TV on occasion and have noise happening when I am alone, but I really do cherish quiet time. Nor am I a huge fan of TV every night.

I remember one of the first times when I was a teenager and my parents went away overnight and my younger brother went to my grandparents house.

My parents were trusting me to be an adult and not have a party or anyone over, plus there were plenty of people in the neighborhood that could “watch” our house and back then, there wasn’t all of the dangers we have today. No Facebook and smart phones to instantly update the world on your location and what you are doing. Not a lot of traffic in our area and less crime than there is now.

I did, of course, invite my best friend/sister across the street over for a little while but all we did was make a few calls to boys and watch the cable channels we normally were “limited” to watch.

Cable was the “new” thing as were microwaves! Yep, I am that old!

After she left I remember thinking “It is so Quiet.”

I could hear the house creaking and making noise, I could hear the dog outside but that was it. No TV, no one talking, walking around or making any noise.

It was Bliss!

I went up to my room and read and wrote in my journal.

I slept late because my parents weren’t coming home until later that day.

I enjoyed the peace and quite of a house alone for the first time in my life.

As the years moved forward and I grew up and moved out of my parents home, for the first time haha, I enjoyed having roommates but enjoyed the times when I was alone at home.

The quiet can be so peaceful!

I later married we and moved around a lot. Florida, Georgia, California and back to Georgia.

Many years later we divorced and at first I was living with friends, but I realized I wanted to get my “own” place.

I wanted the option of “quiet time” all the time because I had never had that.

So I got my own apartment and I reveled in being the only one who made noise, other than neighbors, which I had experienced before being an apartment dweller.

However, after a year-ish I realized I am a very social creature. I had already adopted two cats but I missed living with someone.

I set out to find a roommate. And I was “picky”! I wish I had the original ad I posted on “need a roommate” sites due to it’s “what I don’t want” content!

I finally found one person I felt “good” about meeting and happily she was the only person that came to “check out the place” and also became a friend for life!

She, like me, loved her quiet time but wanted someone semi-normal to live with. She had been in a bad relationship, moved in with family and now wanted to be free of the familial judgment and irritation that can come with it!

We both dated, but often joked we would probably end up being old lady roommates with cats and dogs when we moved into our 3rd residence together.

We had a house with a yard, cats, dogs and she was as OCD about cleaning as I was.

We both respected each other about our “quiet time” but would call each other out if we stayed on the couch for too long (like over a week and you aren’t dying from flu, allergies, stomach bug, surgery or anything else of the like) to touch base and generally keep each other sane.

After a few years  my gypsy spirit kicked in and I decided to move yet again.

This time my adventures led me to the state of Tennessee.

I had some wonderful roommates that I love dearly and are still wonderful friends with to this day.

I married again and had my miracle boy.

It was all so crazy and seem to happen so fast!

I had made peace, to a degree, that I wasn’t able to have children.

My friend, then later husband, and I talked about fertility treatments but honestly I wasn’t sure if I could afford the emotional blow it would cause if we paid out all that money and it didn’t work.

Then a miracle happened. I was pregnant.

We got married and I left my wonderful friends and moved in with him. It may not have been the smartest thing to do since we were such good friends but we thought we could pull it off.

I also knew my enjoyment of “quiet time” was about to be interrupted for a while!

I am not dumb but to my credit I was happy about the arrival of the human I was blessed to help create and carry. I was terrified and happier than I had ever been.

Anyone who has children know from the moment they are born your life of peace and quiet is shattered!

It is not all bad, but that is the truth!

If you’re lucky in the first year, you get “quiet time” when the kid is sleeping and the whole “you nap when they nap” actually happens sometimes because you’re dead on your feet from doing your “normal” chores and work, even if you aren’t caught up on everything you take a nap even if you aren’t a “nap person”! At least I did on occasion!

So “quiet time” shifted but I could still find it.

Life moved on and the boy grew and his dad and I realized that we didn’t need to be married. We had issues with living together and clashed on too many things. We tried counseling and we truly worked on trying to stay together but finally realized we couldn’t stay together “for the sake of the child” because we were both miserable.

So I moved again into my own place right down the road.

My father was going through cancer treatments again and I was a wreck from the emotional strains of worrying about my son, my father and the impending divorce.

I found more “quiet time” than I wanted as my son shares time with his father, which I am grateful for as often times kids get the raw end of the deal when parents are divorcing, but that first few months was Hard.

My “quiet time” was torture to think of all the things going on I had no control over and I miss my son like crazy when he’s gone.

I finally learned to accept his nights and weekends away and to enjoy the precious alone time I had.

During our divorce negotiations and mediation, we ending up deciding to move back to our home state of Alabama as both sets of parents lived here as well as extended family and friends.

It’s funny how you think you won’t move somewhere then you have a child and your whole perspective changes!

I didn’t have a lot of “quiet time” per se due to life and the happenings going on.

My friend whom I had lived with in Georgia, moved in with me to my townhouse after a failed relationship. We were happy to be together again but a bit sad of the circumstances that brought us together. She was great with my son and I once again had my friend with me.

Sadly, she passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack in her sleep.

I was heartbroken and so was Blake.

My aunt had also passed away a few months before and now my son was again losing someone he loved.

I feared there would be more to come but I had no idea how much more.

As I was packing up to move at the beginning of last year I got the call I had been dreading.

Although I had been going back and forth from TN to AL pretty much every weekend, my father had taken a turn for the worse. I threw my bags together and the boy and I set out for the motherland.

We arrived on Friday and my father passed away with our family by his side on Sunday.

I stayed on another week with my mom, family and friends. Funeral arrangements, plans and grief were the world I was in.

I have no idea how my mom made it through with the grace she did, but she is one of the strongest women I know and I have so much love, respect and admiration for her.

Her partner of 45 years had passed and she was hurting like never before, but also shared her journey with my brother and I and our family. It’s never easy when one of the rocks of a family dies, however having the love and support of your family and friends makes it bearable.

I am so blessed to have wonderful friends who while I was gone took care of my animals and also helped pack up my home.

I moved back “home” and in with my mom 2 days shy of one month after my father passed.

5 days after moving back, my beloved fur bebe golden retriever, Jethro a.k.a. Big Love, passed away. See, it did get a bit worse.

We were already grieving and now we grieved another.

Neither mom nor I were sure how things would work out.

I was over 40 with a 3 year old and living with my mom!

Fortunately I was able to transfer with my job and mom and I found out that we not only could live together but enjoyed it in a way we never had before.

We help each other out and one of the things we share is enjoying our “quiet time” or “me time” and help each other find it.

The boy loves living at GiGi’s house with mommy and we talk about Pops, my dad, too. It’s still “their” home but now it’s ours too.

We talk about heaven a lot with the boy because how else are you going to explain so many losses to a 3, now 4 year old? He has Great Wink, Aunt Bicky, Pops and Jethro having parties in heaven and I tend to enjoy his view on it as it eases my sadness to see the world through his eyes.

I know I am fortunate, blessed and pretty darn lucky.

It isn’t always easy but mom and I know we have each other.

Recently she went on a little vacation and the boy went on vacation at the same time.

I forgot about how much I Need and Cherish “quiet time” and me time.

It’s nice to wake up on your schedule, eat cereal for dinner if you want and not have to worry about anyone else.

But you know what? I miss them both! I can’t wait until everyone’s “Home” and the chaos and noise is again filling the house up.

Because as much as I love the quiet time, I miss my family! Noise and all!

Have a fabulously graceless Friday my friends!