Stephen King writes about what scares him.
King said recently in The Wall Street Journal that his career was based on his mother’s advice: “Think of the worst thing that you can, and if you say it out loud, then it won’t come true. ”
Okay, favorite-author-of-mine, I’ll bite: “I’ll get Alzheimer’s, and my children will watch me slowly disappear just as they did their beloved Gram. ”
Dorothy Jean (Rader) Kehn died Jan. 26, 2011 after a two-decades-long battle with Alzheimer’s.
I’d love to tell you Mom was oblivious to what was happening to her, but the carefully typed lists we found when settling her estate tell another story.
As does my youngest sister, Sally, who recalls the horror of Mom suddenly standing there, stymied, beseeching her baby girl to, please, help her remember what she was trying to remember.
Then there were the times when all six of her now-middle-aged daughters were gathered together, loud, like when we were kids. I’d steal a glance at Mom, who was no longer able to speak. Her tears became my own.
That cruel thief Alzheimer’s took away from Mom everything she loved: eating, reading, walking.
Then, finally, it took Mom.
Actually, pneumonia is listed as the official cause of death, which was likewise the case with President Ronald Reagan, probably the world’s most famous sufferer.
Ironically it was Reagan, who in 1983, proclaimed November “Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, ” forcing us to recognize its stealthy advancement on what is now some 5.4 million people in the United States alone.
By 2050, that number will likely exceed 16 million. Now if that doesn’t scare you…
My mom wasn’t one to offer advice, but I’m taking King’s mom’s and writing our congressman, Cory Gardner, about prioritizing research funding for Alzheimer’s – now.
I’m afraid not to.
Brenda Rader Mross
Ambassador Alzheimer’s Association
Colorado Chapter, Fort Collins, CO