From the time I was a teenager, I dreamed of writing a book. For many years, my writing consisted of journaling, and I never seemed to find the time to actually write the great American novel. Then, I had a dream to compile a book of slice-of-life stories about Alzheimer’s. My blueprint was drawn from images in my mind. I visualized the completed book: circular pictures of the people featured in the stories, divided into the stages of the disease, and articles to help people find resources. I dreamed the book could influence legislators to increase research dollars when they read these personal stories, saw the faces of dementia, or learned from the title of the book that 110,000 people in Missouri have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s Anthology of Unconditional Love was printed in September 2007 and will be distributed to legislators on Memory Day, March 12, 2008. Sure, it took a lot of work and perseverance, but no one said turning dreams into reality was easy.
Now my dream is to write a book devoted to early onset dementia. My dream is that this book will be better than the first one, and send a new message: Alzheimer’s is a brain disease, not a normal part of aging.
Alzheimer’s is a dream shattering disease, and throughout Jim’s illness, I rebuilt my dreams many times. The disease made me feel powerless, and to regain control of my world, I directed my efforts into volunteering. A new network of friends and a focus on the big picture became the basis of new dreams.
Dreams don’t come true by merely wishing. They come true through work, faith, and giving. As we give of ourselves, we receive blessings. If we have faith that our dreams can become reality, we work toward our goals which align us with our dreams. And we must always keep the faith, for without it, we cannot dream.