by Maggie A. LaBranch-Gonzales
Litherland, Kennedy & Associates, APC, Attorneys at Law
I think most of us, by now, have had some connection with a person who has been affected by Alzheimer’s. I would wager it is becoming more common as we are living longer. We’ve seen it with our clients and their families.
For me, it’s my grandmother. My grandmother, Jan Ely, died on December 26, 2019 at the age of 78, after surviving through all the stages of dementia and into the final stages of Alzheimer’s.
My grandmother was the kindest, sweetest person you ever met. She was an early elementary school teacher. So, I think that probably sums it up right there, as we all can agree–It takes a special type of person to be a teacher. And that was her.
She had the most astonishing laugh that sort of burst out at the seams and an even more amazing sneeze that would reverberate throughout the house.
My fondest memories of her involve doing one of our favorite things—shopping. My grandmother was an epic bargain shopper. She was particularly adept at finding all these amazing deals at her favorite store “Goodwill” or as we warmly referred to as “GW.” (I still remember the time she got a pair of Versace jeans for maybe $7 and tried to have someone remove the Versace tag on them. “Are you crazy?” they said. “Do you know what these are?!”).
My grandmother loved to travel and made friends all over the world. Many who would travel to visit her or were pen pals that she had for years. As much as she loved to go shopping, or cook and travel, I think she, by far, loved my Gramps the most.
Living with dementia/Alzheimer’s or supporting a family member or friend is not an easy road. You really do travel through all the stages of grief repeatedly as you watch this amazing, vibrant person you once knew change or slowly fade away. It just plain sucks. (That’s a technical, legal term by the way.)
I could go on and on and on about all of my fondest and most favorite memories of her. I try not to be too bitter because she never got to really know my daughter Ellie and she never met my youngest daughter Addie. I know she would have loved these two little talkative silly people.
Instead, I try to smother myself in all of the happy memories I have of her and am so grateful I was able to have them. And I try to laugh as she did, bursting out, like the way she finally passed while we were bargain hunting the after-Christmas sales. I knew she did that on purpose just to make us laugh one last time.
On Friday, October 17, 2020, our office is walking a virtual Alzheimer’s Walk to support our friends, loved ones and clients who may have been impacted by this disease. If you would like to donate to support our Team, please click on this link.