I'm truly one of the lucky ones. Growing up, my support system looked like this: two great parents, two sweet grandmas & two encouraging grandpas. I had both sets of grandparents in my life until my mid-20s. Many don't get to experience the unique bond with a grandparent, and for those people, my heart aches. The love & laughs I've shared with all four of mine have truly made me a better person. One of those four, Pap, has a special place in my heart. When I was little, Pap was the epitomy of "the man." I saw him be the rock for my grandma. The glue of their family. I saw him be a great friend. Everyone knew him. I heard stories from my grandma about how he used to work several jobs & only sleep for a few hours to keep things going when they were starting out. I saw him drink a lot of beer and have a good time around the pool in the summer. I remember him taking me to swim practice every summer morning at Alameda and sitting on the hood of his car. I remember him driving me to dance after school day after day. Unfortunely, Pap doesn't remember any of these things. He doesn't remember my name. He didn't understand when grandma died. Pap has been stolen from my life but an awful, heartless thief called Alzheimer's. It breaks my heart to look into his once bright blue eyes and see confusion, darkness. emptiness. I know his spirit is still living in their somewhere & I can't wait to talk with Pap again somday. I'm running to do my part in making sure no one else's Pap, or grandma, or friend has to go empty. Memories are precious snapshots of a fulfille life and to have them stolen is truly the biggest of heart breaks.
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