My Dad, Stratford S. Hilliard, lost his seven-year fight with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in February 2009. He was two months shy of his 89th birthday. He was the 12th of 13 children, but ended up being the patriarch of our large extended family. Of almost all of his brothers and sisters who had children, he was the only one with only daughters and no sons. But he LOVED it; he was spoiled rotten by his four girls. He tried taking us to baseball games and other “boy” things, but it never worked and he sat through many a ballet recital like a champ. However, because he always loved anything electronic (he would have been an early adopter–he would have been first in line for the iPad), he turned all of his daughters (and 12 grandchildren) into “The Gadget Girls”. He died on Monday and the funeral was that very next Saturday. From Tuesday morning through late Friday night, our dining table was filled with laptops and Blackberries and iPhones and printers as we planned the funeral and wrote an eight-page all color commemorative booklet. He would have been so very proud.
Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. Little by little, your loved one slips away from you. I have so many memories of how my Dad, who could handle anything and anyone, was fine one day, and then seemingly the next day was lost and confused. First to go was his driving, then his knowledge of where he was, then his reasoning ability, then his memory, then his ability to take care of his most basic needs. But one thing that never left him was his love of his family. We had lots of doctors and nurses and caretakers; usually he would complain and yell at them through his pain. But the moment my Mom or one of us came and talked to him, his whole attitude changed. He would smile and talk (sort of). My parents were married for almost 60 years. My sisters and I are grateful for every single year.
About Pamela Hilliard Owens:
After a career of 35+ years in education, collaborative sales and sales management and marketing, I started my own freelance writing and editing business in July of 2008. My company, Writing It Right for You knows that “It Matters How You Say It”! I work with individuals, graduate and post-graduate students, and businesses throughout the United States, Canada, the Middle East, India, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom on a variety of academic and business writing and editing projects.