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Entertainment Tonight’s Cassie DiLaura Honors Her Grandma Agnes

Entertainment Tonight’s Cassie DiLaura Honors Her Grandma Agnes
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March 16, 2023
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Television correspondent Cassie DiLaura shares her connection to Alzheimer’s, her Grandma Agnes, in her own words.

As a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, I talk for a living, but it’s difficult to put into words the impact of someone as one-of-a-kind as my Grandma, also known as Grammy, Gram, G-MA and Gigi. 

Sleepovers at her home always included poached eggs, a breakfast made with the special, secret ingredient of a grandmother’s love.

I remember the $5 or $10 bills she’d give me on occasion just because. 

I remember her green Chrysler 300 with the license plate “Agnes 1.”

I remember her infectious laughter, her comforting smile and the warmth of her hands. 

I remember my Grammy's faith, which was very important to her. She loved dancing, playing cards, bowling and hitting the casino.

Seeing my Grandma on the dance floor was like watching an angel float through the sky, mesmerized by her grace and the happiness she exuded while she clapped and smiled. 
It’s that same smile that made you thrilled for her when she kicked everyone’s butts while playing Tripoley, which fellow Michiganders will know all about. It was impossible not to love the way she’d chuckle with pure excitement as she took your money and bragging rights!
She was gorgeous, vibrant, larger than life, magnetic and magical all wrapped up into a petite body.

Grammy was a loving wife to my grandfather Frank and to my step-grandfather Jerry later in life. A devoted mother of eight children, her greatest joy in life was her family, and you could see that in every corner of her home, where photos covered every inch of the kitchen walls, and frames lined dressers and shelves throughout each room.

I was the only grandchild Grammy saw born, and she was there for me every step of the way beyond the delivery room. She was present for every sacrament, softball and basketball game, school play and extracurricular activity. 

In 2011, Grammy was diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer's type, and her magic began to fade. She moved in with my family, and my mother became her primary caregiver. It was a difficult and beautiful journey. Witnessing Alzheimer's take hold of her memory and body was heart-wrenching, but glimpses of Grammy would shine through with a smile, a laugh, or even a few words.

Through our family's journey with Alzheimer's, I learned the importance of a support system for the person living with the disease and their caregivers. My mom was Grammy’s sole support system, the voice that spoke for her, the hands that fed and bathed her, and the heart that prayed with and for her. The disease took an emotional, physical and financial toll on them both. I now know the challenges of caring for someone you love as you are losing them, right in front of your eyes.

Grammy was with me when I took my first breath, and I was with her when she took her last. Her final words were "I love you, too," which encapsulates who she was entirely — pure love.

Grammy passed away in January 2020, and it is my greatest honor to keep her memory alive with this blog. I want to share her story with the world, to remind others of the importance of love, family and support. To those struggling with Alzheimer's or caring for a loved one who is, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are so many people out there who understand what you're going through and who are here to help.

About: Cassie DiLaura was born and raised in Metro-Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Syracuse University in New York where she received her degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. She is based in Los Angeles, California.

Visit Cassie on Instagram.

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