Three Pierson employees sat down recently to share pieces of their individual stories that connect them to each other and to a cause that closely aligns to Pierson’s heart – the Alzheimer’s Association. Dawn Kleckner, Adam Lerch, and Curtis Wilson didn’t know how similar their experiences with the disease were. However, after a long and heartfelt interview, they began to realize just how many family members this disease has touched.
Dawn has seen multiple people in her family affected by Alzheimer’s including her father-in-law. She witnessed him traverse through the various stages of the disease that affected his personality and colored his final years. Dawn Is well aware that when it comes to Alzheimer’s, there are both good days and bad days. Her strongest piece of advice to anyone walking alongside a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s is to remember that, “Today might be their best day.” Even during the moments when Dawn knew her father-in-law did not fully recognize her, and perhaps he didn’t know their specific relationship, there was always a sense that, “He knew we were connected.” And that is why Dawn can declare from the other side of his passing that love prevails. Even after his memory faded – the connection lasted.
When Adam recalls his own experience of losing his grandma to Alzheimer’s as well as his grandfather to Dementia, he speaks in detail of the memory care they received. He particularly remembers the progression of both diseases and the toll they took. It was a journey that he now quietly carries, and links him to his coworkers. He too knew that even towards the end of their journeys, they remained connected.
Curtis speaks of his mother who recently celebrated her 93rd birthday in May with a sense of reverence and adoration. During most of Curtis’ childhood, his father lived in a Veterans Hospital, leaving Curtis’ mother to raise him. She is the strongest woman he’s ever known, and as Curtis and his family watch her live with Alzheimer’s, his one wish is to, “Have one more conversation with my Mom.” (Although he does admit that she’s the funniest he’s ever known her to be!) He misses the real her.
Like Dawn, Adam, and Curtis, the cause of Alzheimer’s and Dementia awareness is close to the hearts of so many people. As each one shared their story, the thread that weaves their experiences together became more and more clear: Life is about connecting with others. And the connections that we cherish most, will last.