“Alzheimer’s and dementia often feel like the longest goodbye, but on The Longest Day, we celebrate and honor those we love for everything they have meant to us.”
Today, June 21, I dance for my mom on The Longest Day of the year, the summer solstice, in the fight to end Alzheimer’s!
A lover of languages, Louise Glover, my mom, lovingly known as ‘Wheezy,’ spoke French and Spanish fluently. She taught languages and ESL to junior high and high school students for more than 40 years. She did her best to mold and shape new teachers and future generations. Her students loved her, and she loved them.
I lost my mom to dementia in 2021. Today, my team celebrates the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual event The Longest Day in honor of her. Today, we're standing up to the darkness of Alzheimer’s on the day with the most light — the summer solstice — by uniting generations! My team will be dancing and enjoying fun and games at Symphony Park in Charlotte for the third annual Family Dance Party.
My Dance-spiration, My Mom
Mom was so much more than her disease. She was a Sunday school teacher and a woman of faith, and an incredibly strong single mom. She joined Phi Delta Kappa — historically made up of Black teachers — and would go on to become president of Phi Delta Kappa in Columbus, Ohio. She was a good neighbor and community leader, working two jobs, and yet regularly setting up job interviews for people in the neighborhood, and taking them to visit family. I remember my mom most as a servant educator.
Today, I keep the memory of Mom alive through the 2022 Family Dance Party, a celebration of her life and her love of dance. Both she and my Aunt Nell died of complications from dementia in 2021, years after my grandfather passed from the disease. By the time planning began for the Family Dance Party, our sponsor, Paul Jamison, learned his father had been diagnosed with dementia.. This year’s fundraiser is about our families and the people we love. They may forget us when they develop Alzheimer’s or dementia, but we do not forget them! I have to tell my mom’s story, because she would want me to. She is always with me.
I couldn’t imagine going through my experience with dementia without my support system. I got advice from every certified nursing assistant (CNA) who came into my house. It’s one of many networks to tap into. And now, in this phase of my life, it means so much to use what I have learned to help educate people about dementia and offer solutions and support. More than anything, I want to help people learn how to care for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia
. This is essential to everyone's mental and emotional health.
Today, I will share my story. I will share my mom’s story. And, importantly, I will tell others that I reached out for help. It is big to hear real talk from someone who has been there! There are so many emotions and daily challenges, but you take them on for those you love. Even if you don’t always know what you're doing, you will learn! Be like my mom. One of her greatest purposes in life was to guide and educate others. Educate yourself, and help educate others in this fight.
Today, as I dance with memories of my mom in my heart, I share this message, and a message of hope for all families affected: Alzheimer’s and dementia often feel like the longest goodbye. But today, on The Longest Day, we celebrate and honor those we love for everything they have meant to us, and still mean to us every day.
This one’s for you, mamacita.
: Ramona Holloway co-hosts a nationally-syndicated radio show called “Matt and Ramona."
Cheer her on by visiting her The Longest Day team page and learn more about Ramona on Twitter and Instagram, where she shares video memories of her mom.