Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of spending a little bit of time with my dad, who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. I've written quite a few posts about our family's journey through this terrible disease, and the support and care from family, friends and even strangers has been a comfort not only to me, but to my mom. My Dad's illness has impacted her more than anyone, and the grace and dignity she's exhibited is nothing short of a miracle. She is the living example of what it means to live out your vows of "for better or for worse," and "in sickness and in health."
Mom and Dad, Thanksgiving 2013
My parents have two dogs in their home, one of whom, Molly, is my father's constant companion. More than once, I've watched him coo and talk to Molly even as his ability to form sentences and find the words he needs to communicate has deteriorated.
When my father and I arrived at my home yesterday to give my mom an hour to run some errands, our own family dog, Roscoe, greeted him at the door. For the next hour, my father petted and talked to Roscoe. Not wanting to lose the memory of the moment, I filmed a few moments of his interaction with our dog, amazed at the clarity of my father's words.
That evening, I watched the clips of videos and wanted to share the moment with my mom and our family. I wanted a memory for all of us to hold onto and spent some time editing the clips into a small video with the help of my teenage son. Once we were happy with the video, I created a personal YouTube account and uploaded the video, sending my mom the link. I also shared the video on Reddit from an account that, prior to this post, had next to no activity.
I had no idea the video would touch so many people or be shared so many times. The comments and emails -- for the most part -- have been a wonderfully moving procession of individuals sharing their own journey through Alzheimer's or dementia. It is a cruel disease, and the kind words of others who have faced similar experiences has left me feeling not quite so alone in it all.
This post originally appeared on Mama CEO.