This weekend is bittersweet for me. My youngest daughter, Katie, is turning 13 tomorrow. I am so thankful for her laughter and joy for life. But, it makes me sad to realize that she has dealt with Mom's disease for most of her life. She doesn't remember when her Gran loved her and when Alzheimer's wasn't making decisions for us. It is on days like this that I truly realize how much my children have sacrificed for this disease. Katie has never had a sleepover or even a friend over to play.
Tonight, she is with her sister playing miniature golf. I am thankful for her sister, Kylie, and that she is celebrating this milestone in her life. But, I want to be a part of it. Weeks ago, when we were trying to figure out what we could do and how we could make it work, I suggested several options. But, they all involved someone staying and someone going. Katie broke my heart when she cried, "It won't be my birthday if you and Kylie aren't there at the same time." Her birthday has become a fragmented celebration, with parts squeezed in where they fit the best.
So, for now, I have to focus on the future. As much as I want to, I cannot take back this time and make it better. But, I can look forward to a time when this disease releases my mom in peace and my girls and I can be a family again. Alzheimer's is my test. My girls are my life.