The Story of Zoe’s Mum.

“My beautiful mum Jean was a strong, independent and healthy woman when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2008. She was 56.

Although Mum accepted her diagnosis with a great deal of dignity and grace given the future she faced, the news was devastating for our whole family. The outlook for her ever experiencing any sort of recovery was essentially without hope.

Knowing in advance the devastation this disease brings upon the sufferer – and their loved ones – must have been frightening and distressing for her. Alzheimer’s is so much more than a loss of memory, particularly in the young and otherwise healthy.

Fortunately, while not without its significant challenges, particularly for Dad, Mum was able to live at home for many years as her illness progressed. Compared to many people, Mum had a very good quality of life and continued to enjoy many of life’s simple pleasures, like a cup of coffee by the ocean, listening to The Beatles or completing a Sudoku.
However, the day inevitably arrived where Mum could no longer remain safely at home and had to move into professional care. Some truly awful times followed when the full extent of the disease devastated her mind and body. Until the end, Dad continued to bring her a coffee every day and play her favourite music. Alzheimer’s destroys a lot, but not his love for her.

In 2017 and at the age of just 65, Mum passed away, only a few weeks shy of her granddaughter Phoebe’s first birthday. For Phoebe, the memories of her Grandma Jean are what we tell her, in the little stories and sayings and quirks that make a person who they are, and that hint to the values they hold. She will grow up remembering her Grandma Jean as a strong, intelligent and independent woman who was courageous and gracious in the face of her decline, and who loved and cared for her family above all else.

Way back at the start of this tragic journey, Mum knew there was little that could be done to treat or delay the consequences of the disease. Early in her diagnosis, however, she agreed without hesitation to participate in medical research programs, including drug trials and organ donation. She understood that her contribution, however small, would in some way contribute to lessening the suffering of others. So that some day, someone may not have to suffer as she did. As we all did.”

This is why Eyewall exists. Thanks to Zoe Kelsey. (Nee Howe)

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