Walking to End Alzheimer's: Donate to Team NaNa
She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen; 5’2 with the cutest shape, full thick black hair, and beautiful brown skin. Heart of gold, I wished I had her personality traits. My favorite part of my childhood was visiting New York and spending the summers with her. Her house was my heaven and it honestly didn’t get any better than that. Every morning I could smell her cooking my favorite meal; salmon cakes, grits, biscuits, and fresh fruit. Ugh, I thought I was a princess.
Our bond was unbreakable. Unlike my mother, she was there for me at all times. Not once did she ever judged me and she always gave me the best advice.
As the years went on and I became busier with life, I noticed she was getting older and her memory wasn’t as great as it used to be. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. You see my NaNa was very strong and smart so it was no way some disease could defeat her. I decided that if this memory disease is as bad as they say it is, then it would only be right that I moved to New York and help her out with whatever she needed. I was determined to not let Alzheimer's win especially not against my Nana and me. However, it was hard and Alzheimer's gave us one hell of a fight.
As the years went on, Alzheimer's was getting stronger and stronger and both Nana and I were getting weaker and weaker. Nana couldn’t remember anything for the life of her. One particular night I was leaving work, I called Nana, as usual, to see what she wanted for dinner. This time she didn’t answer the phone but I thought maybe she was in the bathroom. Once I got home, I raced upstairs like a little kid, so happy to see my safety blanket, but she wasn’t there. I called our family members asking did they pick her up and everyone replied with a hesitant no. A little baby anxiety attack was born. I called all of the hospitals and police stations that were near us looking for her. I gave up calling her cell phone because I knew that was dead. I walked to her favorite spots that she liked to shop at and still no signs of her there either. I couldn't believe Alzheimer's was doing this to us.
As the hours went by, I felt helpless in my room while crying wondering if she was okay. I heard someone coming into the house through the front door and there she was. My uncle found her at the hospital she used to work at. The nurses said NaNa kept saying she was ready to go check on her patients and that’s when it hit me. No matter what I thought, this disease was real and it was here to stay. I always thought of myself as a strong individual, but this was different and I felt like I didn't have control. It felt like I was in this alone giving my all, sacrificing my happiness just to make sure my NaNa was happy and safe.
Before the funeral started, there was the viewing of the body. I sat in the back hoping that it was a nightmare and I would eventually wake up. I never thought this day would come. You know there are some people in life who you think are supposed to live forever and she was that for me. She was my Michael Jackson. I had no idea that my hero was going to leave me physically. As the funeral went on, I kept hearing her say, “Na you not going come up here and see your NaNa?” I kid you not but as bad as I wanted to go up there and say my last goodbye I just couldn’t find the strength to.
After the funeral, my two best friends were sitting with me and I told them that I was ready. I wasn’t too far from her, but it felt like it was taking me forever to get closer to her. As I stared at her in total shock, I couldn’t believe she was gone. And that’s when reality hit me. So many memories flashed through my mind of her cooking for me, telling me stories with a lesson at the end, or simply telling me how much she loved me. I looked at her hands and picked them up just to feel them one more time. They were cold. I knew that once I walked out the door that life will begin for me as it ended for her. I kissed her goodbye on the forehead and whispered thank you NaNa.
In honor of my Nana's birthday, I will be raising money to find a cure to end Alzheimer's. Walk to End Alzheimer's will be on November 4th, 2017 in Brooklyn, NY. To donate, become a member on Team NaNa, or for more information please click below. Thank You!