My name is John, and I am a 20-year-old junior at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. I have lived around Alzheimer's nearly all my life.
I remember as a small kid going to visit my grandmother's parents, or Nana as I fondly called her. Her father was the former fire chief, and her mother a loving woman all around. Everyone knew everyone in this town, and my family was one that had been there for some time.
We would make these trips often, just to say hey, go out to eat and come back home. Well, as time went on, I could tell that granny, Nana's mother, stopped driving, and eventually stopped talking.
She lived with Alzheimer's the last six years of her life. For the most part, she was able to walk unassisted until the end. After her passing, the family all breathed a sigh of relief, knowing she was now in a better place. The happiness didn't last long. Soon after, Nana retired, and she almost immediately started showing signs of Alzheimer's; and we all knew it.
I moved into my dorm a few days ago, the day after I left to grieve for her. This disease is not fair. Nana was happy, cheerful and smart. She assisted in programs that helped the first generation of astronauts navigate into space. She was even Alan Shepard's date to a dance. She was fun-loving, and she faced her end with more courage than one could ever read about.