Sunday, September 19, 2010

Memory Walk

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading organization for supporting patients, families, friends, and other caregivers affected by dementia. Their primary focus IS Alzheimer's Disease, although they do help people affected by other dementias. Their mission is to accompany patients and their loved ones through the disease with education, care, resources, and support groups. They also are one of the leading organizations that fund Alzheimer's Disease research to try to find a cure for this thieving disease.

Every year, the Alzheimer's Assocation puts on a Memory Walk in communities across the country. The Memory Walk is much like the American Cancer Society's "Race for the Cure." Walkers register and seek to fundraise in various ways. Then, they go to a designated place on the day of the walk, experience a short program, and then walk along a particular path.

This year, I formed a team for the local Memory Walk in SeminaryCommunity. We sought donations and fundraised a decent chunk of money. I felt very passionately about participating to the fullest because of all that's happened with my family and me during Mom's illness. I walked for Mom. At one point during my seminary career, I went and talked to a lady at the local Alzheimer's Association chapter and she gave me a lot of information, books, an Alzheimer's Assocation bag, and a listening ear. It was invaluable. So, I wanted to help repay the favor.

I also wanted to raise money so that we can get closer to a cure. I've recently heard of some promsing research in Australia. I am incredibly hopeful that these scientists, doctors, and professionals are on the right track so that people will not have to fear the diagnosis of "Alzheimer's Disease" in the NEAR future. I walked for the Alzheimer's Association.

Honestly, I walked also for my family and for me though. My maternal grandmother had Alzheimer's Disease. My paternal grandmother had undifferentiated dementia, and Mom had Vascular Dementia. I do NOT want to follow suit. Also, my oldest brother is turning 50 this year, and I want a cure to be available when and if he is diagnosed. I want a cure for if and when my sisters and if and when I get diagnosed. Losing people slowly to such a disease as dementia is too terrible a thing. I can't imagine what it is like for patients when they still are aware of what is happening. I walked for patients, families, and caregivers all over the world. I walked for you.

So, I participated in the Memory Walk to support the Alzheimer's Association. I was the 5th ranked top fundraiser for this community, and that is something of which I am proud. I walked for many reasons. I hope to walk in the future. It is a tangible thing that I can do to help me continue to process through the grief that still very much affects me. It seems almost appropriate that the walk here was six months to the day of Mom's death. I hope that I can continue to be a voice for those who have had there voices robbed from them by dementia. I hope that I honor my mom's memory, and I hope that someday soon, we can live in the joy of a cure and a prevention of a disease that tries to steal who a person is.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Residence Hall Laundry

Well, here I sit in my dorm room at Seminary. Prolog Week is over, and this is probably the last weekend I'll have for a while with absolutely no homework or reading to do. So, what am I doing to live it up? I am trying to do my laundry.

Exciting, I know. But stick with me here... At Seminary, we get to do our laundry for "free" in our housing units. In the Res Hall, there are three washers and three dryers in the basement. We all share and share alike.

The thing is, there are many people living in the residence hall, and so sometimes there are no free laundry machines. To exacerbate this problem, one of the RH washers is out of commission right now. So, there are TWO washers and three dryers.

I just walked down to the laundry room because I haven't done laundry here yet and I need to wash my sheets and some clothes. But, right now, both of the washers are occupied, and this got me thinking.

It "should" be pretty obvious that in life, sometimes things won't happen exactly the way we want them to. However, I think we forget that a lot of the time. And then when something like all the washing machines being occupied happens, we're reminded of reality. It's not a big deal right now for me to have to wait for a washer to open up. But for some people, especially in our "gotta have it now" society, that would be a HUGE deal. And unfortunately, sometimes reality vs. what we want comes to a head and spills over into our relationships with others.

I remember vividly when I was a middler (2nd year M.Div student) and had my laundry in a washer. I'm usually very intentional about making sure my clean clothes don't sit in the washer for extended periods of time, knowing that other people might be needing to get their own chores done. So, imagine my surprise when one day, someone called me and sniped at me to come get my laundry out of the washer. In a rude way. Even though, I'm fairly certain the washer had JUST stopped.

I am fairly certain that had this woman been a bit more diplomatic and polite about the situation, I would not remember it. But, since she snapped at me and was rude, I DO remember. And in that remembering, I also think about how my actions and words and tone of voice affect how other people "get" me.

So, as I sit here waiting for a washing machine to open up, I am reflective about community and about the compromises and patience which are important to embody. When we "gotta have it now" we are taking away from others who also have a desire to get things done and to live their lives. Unselfishness is important. Politeness is important. This community and every community in which we find ourselves is important. I hope to remember this always, and to live in ways that honor the various types of people in community, as well as myself.