We are taught some of the most important life lessons every day, and the most memorable seem to come from those we love the most. And sometimes we are taught the most unexpected lessons of life, from the most unexpected people. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease and simply loving a loved one with Alzheimer’s is an eye-opening experience that leaves a lasting impression on your life. This piece is about and for my grandmother, and how she has changed my life forever simply with age.

Alyea Pierce

Alyea Pierce is an author, poet, and playwright, who is a “real nice cook up” of the West Indies. Pierce’s work has been featured on the grand stages of the Apollo Theater and Broadway's New Amsterdam Theater in New York City, as well as various TEDx events, and universities across the country. Her work has been published in the Caribbean Writer, and she is the 2015-2016 playwright-in-residence and an actress for the Strength Out of Shadows Theater company. Pierce is receiving her Master’s of Education at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She lives her life as a testimony, educating youths in numerous organizations on how to transform their creative ideas into professional voices. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @AlyeaSpeaks


Tonia friel:

It all started back when I was 2 years old.. Little did I know that my grandmother would also end up having an intelligence span of my similar age even younger. For 14 whole years my grandmother had alzeihmers disease with it starting out when she was just 49 years old. My mother was her career every single day of the week so all of my childhood memories involve my grandmother and now looking back I wouldn’t change any of it. Although it was frustrating when I was younger going to my grandmothers house an having to tell her my name numerous times a day and that I was her first born granddaughter. Over the years my knowledge grew on the disease she had and I learnt that nothing was ever going to change. My grandmother who once was an intelligent beautiful and amazing women lost all concept of herself and slipped into someone she wasn’t. She deteriorated to not being able to move, feed herself, talk.. Literally nothing but blink her eyes. It was horrible to see and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. However, like others I too didn’t know anything about alzeihmers disease until I experienced it within my own family. Very little people have much knowledge on the disease and the severity of it. For 14 long years I watched my grandmother suffer every single day and slip into someone she wasn’t and it was heart breaking.. As much as it breaks my heart to say but at the end during her last fight I was happy that she was going to be pain free for the first time in 14 years. I will never forget the memories that I built up with my grandmother over the years, it may not be the memories any young girl would like to build but to me I knew no different. My days were filled with spoon feeding her and ensuring she was comfortable in bed, holding her hand when she was lamenting in pain and styling her hair exactly the way she liked it and as much as I longed that she would soon be ok, just like the years that wish slipped away.

May 11, 2016

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