#iRemember the day I started this blog: it was January 22nd, 2013 and I had just finished writing a post about the best dressed celebrities at the Golden Globe awards. I was sitting behind my desk at work, freezing, twirling my hair (as I do whenever I’m nervous), and panicking. I was about to hit that “publish” button, knowing that when I did I will become fully dedicated to constantly writing and expressing my views here. I remember that day like it were yesterday; the million thoughts rushing through my mind in an instant- some good, some bad, some scary and the list goes on. I remember finally clicking the “Publish” button and sharing my first post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And I remember that, since that moment, writing for this blog has become one of my favorite things in the world!
So, why am I telling you all this today?
A few days ago, I stumbled across a Facebook application by Barista Espresso that invited Facebook fans and Twitter followers to help them raise awareness during World Alzheimer’s Month (September) by sharing their memories using the hashtag #iRemember and recounting their special memories. Barista has promised to donate USD $1- per post, tweet, and Instagram picture to Alzheimer’s research in Lebanon.
I would like to invite you all to participate; Alzheimer’s affects millions of people around the world and this is one cause that really hits close to home: My grandmother Marianna was known by many as “Sit el Settet”, literally meaning the lady of ladies. She single-handedly raised four kids while my grandfather was working in Saudi Arabia to support the family and she nursed him back to health after two rigorous open heart surgeries. She was a working woman who made a career for herself as a nurse (which was pretty uncommon for the women of her time) and she used to cook quite a feast for Jeddo’s friends every week. In the Fall, she would make oil and soap and dry raisins and apricots to make jam..
But then she got Alzheimer’s..It started out slow when she began forgetting simple things like what she had for lunch or who called her earlier in the day, but with the years it got a lot worse. She was unable to form new memories; to her I was still the little girl in school and my brother was still in college. She couldn’t watch a TV show because she wouldn’t remember what happened the episode before. She stopped cooking because she didn’t remember the ingredients. She didn’t remember who came to visit her or when Christmas was or when any of our birthdays were. When my Jeddo passed away, she sat in church unaware that it was her husband who had died. After that, she used to ask where he was and why he wasn’t with her.. To her, he died twenty times a day, and every time she “found out” that he passed, she would cry like it was the first time she was told.
Teta passed away almost three years ago. Her long battle with Alzheimer’s was filled with ups and downs for her and the family; there were times when she said the funniest things and times when her words were heartbreaking. Sometimes, I avoided seeing her because I wanted to keep the prior image I had of her in my mind and because there is nothing worse than seeing someone you love gradually dwindle and fade away into the unknown.
What I want to tell you is that our memory is a blessing; the feeling of sinking your feet into the damp sand as the waves splash on the shore. Opening Christmas gifts with family. The first day of college. Tossing your hat into the air after graduation. First kisses. Last kisses. (Even though it sucks ). Your wedding day. Looking at your child for the first time. Visiting new places. Discovering new things. Accomplishments. Disappointments.. Remember all these things for as long as you can remember!