Alzheimer's awareness, support, and research has been close to my heart most of my life. When I was very young, my Nanny was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I first remember understanding that even though I would spend weeks at a time visiting my other grandparents, I could not stay with her alone. I have many wonderful memories of her reading to me, watching her quilt, working in the garden, drinking grape Kool-Aid, and helping her hang the laundry out on the line. I also remember as she began to ask the same questions over and over, only moments after I had shared a story with her. I remember the night she wandered out of her house and got lost. I don't remember who she was before the disease, when she was strong, independent, loved to laugh, and took care of everyone, unfortunately most of my memories are of her declining into a silent smile. I remember when she could no longer communicate, but could at least still sing along to hymns, her last words praising the God she loved so passionately. Eventually the disease took those songs too.
I am grateful that she was part of a clinical trial that slowed the progression and gave her many more years with us than most patients get, but ultimately I still watched this horrible disease eat away at her brain throughout my childhood. Erasing her identity, and her memories until she finally found freedom from the disease when she went to be with the Lord.
Now almost 20 years later, my aunt who devoted a decade of her life to caring for my Nanny, has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. The progression is much more rapid, and all the doctors can say is that her brain is shrinking. A woman who only a few years ago to be up before the sun working every day; who loved cooking, quilting, her church family, and giraffes, remembers none of that.
I am who I am because of these Godly women who lived generously, taught me to sew, to cook, and the value of hand made things. They were infinitely proud of me, and supported my every dream.
I am passionate about Alzheimer's research because of my family. I want to know what causes it. I want there to be a better understanding of the disease and how to prevent it and hopefully someday a cure for it. I hope that the donations from Bricks & Baubles Jewelry will help that happen. 10% of each necklace purchase goes directly to the Alzheimer's Association which uses the funds for Alzheimer's care, support, research, awareness, and advocacy. Thank you for your support.