Ann managed to get through the rest of the school year without too many hiccups. She told no one of the diagnosis. She was so tired of turning it over and over in her mind and the last thing she wanted to do was experience the pity of others. It was easier to live in a world where no one knew, so in a sense she could pretend the land mine in her head wasn’t real. She turned in her resignation at the end of March, telling the board that she wanted early retirement so that she could spend more time with Mark. She was elated to see that the school was able to replace her with an outstanding young teacher-administrator. He shared the same passion for teaching which fuelled Ann’s work. That made it much easier for her to let go. At the end of the year gathering, many of the staff shed tears as they said their goodbyes. Another chapter of Ann’s life was complete. Now what do I do, she thought.

Several weeks later, home all alone, Ann drifted to her computer to check emails. Her inbox overflowed with updates from writers posting their work on the writers’ blog. Up until now she had deleted these notifications without reading them. But something caught her eye before she erased one of them. “Alzheimer’s.” She’d seen the word “Alzheimer’s.” Curiosity got the better of her and she clicked on the link to the blog.

Mesmerised, she read the entire story and then read it a second time. As she read tears streamed down her face, but she made no attempt to stop them. This young writer had written about the heartache involved in watching her mother slowly drift away due to the mental degeneration of her brain. Ann’s heart ached for the young woman, but she found herself experiencing more empathy for the mother. Without thinking, Ann wiped the moisture from her face with the back of her hand and began typing a response to the author.

Dear @junebuggie, What wonderful tale you have written. I can feel your deep love for your mother. Dementia is terrible disease that slowly robs us of the ones we love. They seem for seep away little by little until they are gone. The frame stays, but the core is empty.

Ann paused. She’d been about to write something personal, something from her soul, something about the devastation of the disease in her life. She was tempted to seal the crack that had opened, to remain aloof and disassociated, to hide her heart. The cursor hovered over the cancel button. One click and she could withdraw back into the protection of her shell. But the courage of this young woman, who was willing to open her life to the world through words, inspired her.  With shaking hands and an anxious feeling rising from the pit of her stomach she let go of the mouse and positioned her hands over the keyboard.

I have recent been diagnose with early-onset dementia. At first I read everything they gave for me find about the disease. Maybe I was searching for hope. But everything I found only depress me more. They say I am lucky, because they have discover the disease early, but really it means more agony for me. I feel like I am being suck into desperate pit of darkness and there is nothing I can do to stop. Now I am okay; I can communicate pretty well, but it takes me longer than is use for getting words right. I am afraid and very alone. I am sad for you mother. Somewhere inside she is there. But she cant get out.

It felt so good to write, to let out her fear, to tell someone what was going on inside. Before she could think more about it and probably change her mind, she pushed “post comment.”

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