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Happy Summer Birthday | Alzheimer’s in the First Person | Barbara Taylor Vaughan

Photo: Joseph Hart

I hope everyone is having a wonderful 4th of July….I love fireworks and sparklers…this has been the quietest 4th of July I can remember…usually our neighbors start all their fireworks a few days before the actual holiday, but this year since there has been no rain and there is a ban on fireworks. It has been quiet, and I miss the noise and the beauty of the fireworks. Every year since we have lived here we have sat out in the backyard and watched all of our neighbors put on a beautiful fireworks display over the lake, but this year…quiet, and no fireworks.

Missy’s birthday is a few days before Christmas and she always felt that her birthday got overlooked…when she met Mike, he started celebrating what he called her summer birthday in July…so usually around the 4th of July he would get her a cake and presents and they would celebrate her summer birthday, the last couple of years so much has been going on, them taking care of me, Missy’s MS…Mikes dad being sick…just life…that her summer birthdays have been forgotten.

Yesterday I wasn’t myself, my old Alzheimer’s took over, I fell, forgetting how to walk again, passed out again, and then slept most of the day. I am so much better today. I found a little Kraft caramel in my sweater pocket today. When I got finished with my lunch, Missy and Mike and I were sitting talking and I took out the little Kraft caramel from my pocket along with a little note I had tried to write and told Missy, “Happy summer birthday,” then I sang to her. I was trying to make her happy, make her know that yesterday was bad, but today was better, that I remembered her summer birthday. She took the little Kraft caramel and hugged me, and started crying…I didn’t mean to make her cry. Then I looked at Mike and he left the room, I think maybe I had made him cry too…

I told them later, that they need to start living each day, quit putting off everything or one day it will be too late. Life is never easy, there is always something going on, like my mother used to say, “if you wait till the right minute to do something, you will never do it, because it is never the right minute….just do it and then get on with it.” I hope all of you have a great holiday, enjoy your family and friends, quit putting off things, stop waiting till the right time, go ahead and do them now. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so enjoy today, enjoy now…I am 89 and have Alzheimer’s and I have enough sense to know that you tell the people you love that you love them today. You hug your kids today. You call your friends and tell them you appreciate them today. So have a Happy 4th of July…Happy summer birthday Sunshine…

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