Coincidentally, World Alzheimer’s Day is also the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
Mom, Pia Roma and I made this video on September 21, 2009, to mark #PeaceDay. I wore a green ribbon around my left wrist in support of the revolution that was happening in Iran that summer.
Mom had been showing symptoms of Alzheimer disease since 2006, and she momentarily forgot Pia’s name when we were making the video. But she clearly articulated the meaning of peace in a few words: “Love your neighbours in all the countries,” she said.
What a tragedy that so many people, including too many world leaders seem to have forgotten what peace means, when my mom, who lived with dementia, knew it very well until the end.
She had no problem discerning right from wrong, and she was crystal clear about what people must do to make positive change. In one of the blog posts that accompanied the videos I wrote:
“She knows it takes strength and conviction to stand up and fight for what you believe in. It may even take a revolution. But in the end, if you have enough determination, you will prevail.”
Five years ago today, on September 20, 2009, Mom and I tied green ribbons around our wrists because we both believe people should live together in peace and harmony. Somebody took the picture above. At the time, there was a tentative peace between me and my only other sibling. Now there is nothing but ongoing war.
Ironically, our family has been torn apart over the issue of my mother’s care, and sadly, our situation is not unique. I am fiercely determined and have no doubt in my ability to create change, but I fear it will be too late for my Mom. My hope is others will benefit from the sharing of our experience, the fruits of my ongoing advocacy and the echo of my mother’s voice long after she’s gone.
There is a reason for everything. There is purpose in the telling of this story. I hope it touches and inspires you and many others.