Whew. All of the feelings are happening as I prepare to head out on the 2016 Ride to Remember from Greenville to Charleston, SC (252 miles in 3 days). Together with 300 other riders we have raised over $350,000 (and counting) towards the fight to end Alzheimer’s Disease.
I’m riding in memory of my grandfather, who passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2006. I have many fond childhood memories of him, like riding on his shoulders, working in the yard together, and singing with him in the choir when I visited my grandparents each summer.
There are also painful memories, watching him slip away over the years as the disease took over. Toward the end, we still sang hymns together when conversation failed and he saw me as a stranger.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t just take someone out of your life as other diseases do by attacking the body. Alzheimer’s makes you watch helplessly as it sinks its teeth into the bond you have forged with someone over a lifetime, until they are just a shell of their former self.
A year ago I watched others ride in memory of those they have loved and lost, and I knew I wouldn’t miss the opportunity this year.
See you Sunday, Charleston!