Alzheimer’s Disease is an ongoing exercise in grieving. Every loss along the course of decline forces us to release and let go. An image, a name, a memory, a task, a sense of self evaporates one by one. And with each mini death, we embrace the new. We go all in, loving the person where they’re at, searching for new ways to connect, admiring the beautiful inner core revealed.

Mom died September 2, 2015, six or so years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I thought the long journey through loss and grief would ease the final blow. Not so. Storytelling and photos shared during our week together as a family engulfed me with the realization that Mom wasn’t the only one who had forgotten who she had been. I had embraced so many new versions of her that I had let go of the original. And I remembered how much I missed the original and grieved one more time.

To learn more about the original Mom, feel free to read the Family Remembrance I read during her memorial service in Tucson.

You can read more essays about our experience with Alzheimer’s here.

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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