Once upon a time I traveled with three small children on three different flights from Alaska to Georgia!
Once upon a time a baby Owen decided to poo his brains out and explode out of his diaper and onto his outfit, blanket and carseat….. at 2 in the morning…. on a plane full of people….. that’s also the time I stole a Delta Air blanket that TO THIS DAY Fin still yells at me about for taking it. But that’s another story for another day.
Back in January of 2000, I went to Portugal on a school trip. When the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance to travel to Europe. My parents were supportive and on board from the start.
As the trip drew near, I had doubts and wasn’t sure if I should go. A lot of my friends, for one reason or another, would no longer be going on the trip. The teacher organizing the trip and my dad both encouraged me to go, and with hesitation I agreed.
It was a trip of a life time. I have so many great memories from that trip, bonding with others on the trip, meeting people from other countries, sightseeing, etc. While it wasn’t the trip I thought it would be, it was still fun. Although, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Portugal. But that’s another story.
Of course, I took a ton of pictures to document my trip, which my friends and family were anxious to see. I remember going over to my grandparent’s house. I was telling my grandpa about my trip and showing him my pictures. He pulled one out and said “I’m going to paint this for you.”
My grandfather was a wonderful artist. He was always drawing, sketching, taking pictures, painting. When he retired, he focused more on his art. As he developed Alzheimer’s disease, art was still something that he was interested in and able to do. However, more and more of his paintings were going unfinished.
Months passed by and he would talk about painting my picture, but I never saw any progress. I so badly wanted the painting…my own, one of a kind piece of art. A painting done just for me, by grandpa.
In September of 2001, my grandpa announced my painting was done. I loved it and cherished it from that moment. That painting became my most prized possession.
As a student, I kept that painting in my childhood bedroom, where I would see it every day. When I moved into my parent’s weekend home after graduating, I convinced my dad to let me hang the painting in the living room, which is where it is still housed.
I was told, and decided to believe, that my painting was one of the last ones that my grandpa finished. The painting serves as a reminder of my trip, of my grandfather’s artistic ability, the time we spent together and everything he meant to me.
As his Alzheimer’s disease progressed, he drifted away from creating art, even though art remained a lifelong passion until his death in 2011.
January is Alzheimer Awareness Month.
– There is no known cause of Alzheimer’s disease, nor is there a cure at this time.
– If no cure is found in the next two decades, Alzheimer’s disease has the potential to bankrupt the global medical care system.
– The only way to truly diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease is by an autopsy. Currently, people get tested for a variety of disease (such as Parkinson’s) and if they all come back negative, you are given an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
– You have a 12% chance of developing Alzheimers disease or a related dementia. If you have a family member who has the disease, your chances increase to 30%
– There are currently 35 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia
For more information, please visit www.alzheimer.ca or your local Alzheimer Society/Association.
Thank to Amber for letting my guest post today! You can find me at www.dreamsandcolour.blogspot.com