Jun 212015
 

“There is hope in the future and beauty in the moment.”

The Longest Day has afforded us the promise of this statement.

When my incredible husband Steve was diagnosed nearly four years ago with younger-onset (also known as early-onset) Alzheimer’s, we knew we needed guidance. The Alzheimer’s Association has provided us with that and more.

The Longest Day gave us an opportunity to take an active role. It also provided us with a chance to have friends and family gather and rally around Steve to let him know how loved and supported he is. We honor him by hosting a day filled with some of his favorite activities, and our grandchildren are empowered as they use their small but poignant voices to honor their Gramps and raise awareness. They have even coined the phrase “When life gives you JUDYTEAMAlzheimer’s…make lemonade!” Selling lemonade is only one of today’s activities.

lemonadeWe have run, walked, biked, swam, played horseshoes and danced Zumba. We have spiffed up the exterior of our old beach house, done puzzles and sang. We have shared old memories and created new ones. We have laughed and cried. We have honored those living with Alzheimer’s and memorialized those whom we have loved and lost. This is our day to celebrate life with Steve, and assure ourselves of what can’t be taken from us with this disease—love!SteveTLD

As the sun sets, a soft glow of purple washes across the faces of the nearly 50 people in our beach circle. We take time to reflect on what we have accomplished, and we ceremoniously offer an intention of hope and honor. Each of us ignites our individual light in the sand and then we join them together. As each is lit, we watch the dim light of a single candle grow from a faint glow to a radiant brightness. It’s then that we realize that there is hope in the future glowand beauty in this very moment.

It’s now time for contemplation of what has been achieved today, The Longest Day.

We have raised substantial funds for the Alzheimer’s Association, which has not only been an incredible wealth of resources for us on this journey, but also the force behind making global strides in research, care and education.

We have exhausted our muscles from our various activities. Our faces are sore from the shared smiles. Our arms and shoulders carry the weight of both giving and receiving numerous “strength-giving” hugs.

Our lungs are contented by being filled with fresh sea air. Our hearts are warmed and overflowing with the love and support of our family, friends and neighbors. As a group, we have turned Wells Beach purple to raise awareness. We have fought hard for future generations to realize a time when Alzheimer’s disease is just a memory. We have witnessed the true power of a community effort.endalz15 (1)

Thank you to all who are fighting this good fight! And to those who will face another “longest day” tomorrow…we do this for you.

About the Author: Judy Johanson is care partner for her husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s at age 59. Together with her family and friends, Judy is participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day®, a sunrise-to-sunset event on June 21, 2015, to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. 

 

  4 Responses to “Hope in the Future and Beauty in the Moment”

  1. Judy, you know how much you and your family mean to me. Thank you once again for your support and sharing a glimpse into what a powerful message The Longest Day can send. Hugs to team This is our Life!!

    • Lauren,
      we have been at this together for 4 years now….I fell like you are on our team!!! Thanks for everything you do to help us make The Longest Day such a successful event and for giving us a place to share this important journey! Hugs to you and your dedicated team!

  2. thank you Mark! And thanks for your support, we truly appreciate it!

  3. Well said Judy, there really is hope in the future, and most definitely, beauty in the moment. I encourage everyone to take each day we have on this earth and appreciate everything life has to offer. I have watched Judy and Steve fight this disease with a fierce attitude while enjoying the life and time they have together with love, grace, and poise. My husband Dave (Steve's brother) and myself (Judy's sister) stand up with them in this battle to end Alzheimer's and stand next to them to experience all the beauty life has in store for us. We are so proud of you and love you both!

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