I will never forget the last time I saw my great- grandmother Connie, my granddad’s mom. She was in a nursing home, her body and mind destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease while my grandpa cried and my grandmother tried to convince her that we were her family and that she really did know us. I was only 12 years old, and it’s a memory forever seared in my brain. Flash-forward 26 years and I’m in the one room assisted living facility that my grandparents shared due to the ravages of neurological disease. Alzheimer’s Disease was now my grandfather's life, like his mother’s. Most days it was the same heartbreaking conversation “ Where do you live? How old are you? What’s your name? That was until he couldn’t talk anymore.
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. I didn’t wake up to flowers, breakfast in bed, or on a beach in Costa Rica. My morning consisted of doing dishes, folding laundry, cooking breakfast, feeding the chickens, hanging with my girls, and writing this blog. Ryan didn’t get a day off, a good morning kiss, or breakfast at all- he had to wake at 3 am to go to work because it’s Wednesday, a sturgeon opener, and he has a lot of people at work counting on him. We didn’t get each other gifts, we didn’t have an elaborate plan, or a plan at all. This is called life, and it’s not an Instagram dream.
This is a long blog. Really, it’s a story. One that has taken me nearly 20 years to write. If you don’t have a relationship in your life, then this story may not interest you, but if you love, are, or know anyone who has a passion greater than most, you may get something from it. It wasn’t an easy story to live or write about. It’s not easy to share our flaws, our secrets, our fears.