A Personal Note from MayzieMom

Hi…MayzieMom (Amber) here. As you know, we try to keep things light and happy here because, well, Mayzie is light and happy. We want this to be a place to come to forget the rest of the world and smile even for a minute. I also rarely get personal on the blog because A) the blog isn’t about me and B) I’m by nature an extremely private person.

However, I’m going to share something intensely personal today. I don’t write this to ask for your pity or to feel sorry for me or my family. We’ve had plenty of that. However, this subject is important to me and so I’m stepping (waaaaay) outside my comfort zone to share with you.

Almost three years ago, I lost my sweet daddy suddenly and shockingly. Within a year while I was still reeling from the loss of my father, my mother was diagnosed with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.

She was 66 at the time.

My mother today is no longer the mother I knew. The mother I knew loved planting flowers, and rescuing and restoring discarded furniture. She collected original artwork from local artists, not because she thought they were worth something but because they touched her. She adored dogs and impressed upon us that they were members of the family. She held a degree in theater, and taught middle school English for almost 30 years. She introduced “Romeo and Juliet” to thousands of students, and while she literally knew every line, she never grew tired of Shakespeare’s prose. She was wickedly funny, infuriatingly stubborn, sometimes difficult and always passionate.

mom me wedding

Today my mother is 68 and in a memory care facility. A year ago, we thought we were going to lose her to pneumonia and even admitted her to hospice. But she’s a fighter and surprised everyone by rallying. She’s now entering the end stages of the disease and has trouble communicating, eating and walking.

I thought losing my dad was the most difficult thing I would ever endure. But watching what’s happening to my mother is a whole different kind of hell.

And so we come to the reason I write today. My youngest sister Candice is running in the Chicago Marathon on October 12, 2014. She has entered as a charity runner and is raising money for Alzheimer’s research. Her goal is $1,500.

My mother and sister

My mother and sister

I’m not used to being on the asking end of things but today I’m asking you to consider supporting my sister in this. A new study suggests that Alzheimer’s may be the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. We know nothing can bring our mother back. But maybe, with the proper research, we will eventually be able to save millions of other mothers…and sisters and brothers and cousins and nephews…from the same horrific fate.

No amount is too small and all donations are tax-deductible. If you are interested in joining our fight and helping my sister achieve her goal, please click on her personal fundraising page.

Thank you so much! Your support (whether it’s financial or emotional) means the world to me and my family.


  1. Despite knowing that many people struggle with similar things, having a loved one in such suffering feels very isolating. I’m glad you shared. The photo of your mom brought tears to my eyes.

    Mango momma

  2. P.S. I made a donation even though the site said the certificate was invalid, might tell your sister to check with them about their internet security.

    • Thank you SO much for donating, Mango Momma, and for your kind words. (And I sent a note to my sister about the certificate.)

  3. Done. We are always happy to help for a great cause.

  4. We have done it too.
    Alzheimers is such a horrible disease. So glad your sister is doing this run. And Amber our good thoughts are with you and your Mom. Take care.

  5. We just stole our mom’s plastic and made a donation! Tell your sister/auntie good luck in the marathon too. Maybe she will see Two Pitties rooting her on!

    Millie & Walter

  6. Dear Mayzie, Mom and all:

    We are proud to say we also stole the plastic card to make a contribution to help lick Alzheimer’s ! Many Thanks to your aunt for making this effort on behalf of your grandmother, our Aunt Marie and all who live with and suffer from this killer disease.

    Gus and Teka

  7. Hi Mayzie’s mom…I understand how difficult it must have been to share such personal information. My mother has been showing signs of dementia and we have finally convinced her to see a neurologist so she can be properly diagnosed. My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. I will gladly make a donation to support your sister’s goal.

  8. Frankie and Ernie says:

    We just heard this new report about it being the THIRD cause of death,just last week.. THAT has really opened a lot of eyes.
    You were very brave to share your story.

  9. I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this. Good luck to your sister! Momma is training for her furst marathon, so she sent a donation from all of us.

  10. Our Hearts are breaking for you and your sister….for your Mom. I just printed a form for sending in a donation. It will be going out today. Prayers, hearts and spirits are with you all. -The Bettendorf Tribe

  11. Mayzie and Mom
    We write with understanding and love. The faces of Alzheimer just touch the surface of who is really behind each face. Such as your sweet precious Mom who bore and nurtured you and your siblings into amazing human beings.

    Over the last year while visiting my Mom in the Memory unit of her facility, I have learned about the other residents. One was a concert pianist, I’m told one have the voice of an angel. Now she hums a lot. Another was an assistant to one of NC’s governors.
    To those who have not stared Alzheimer in the face it is a silent, evil disease that knows no barriers. It creeps in like a thief robbing them of their every memory.

    We are heading over to the site now to contribute in honor of my mom, Lou, who was once a model,vibrant conversationalist, avid reader and walker, loving wife, mom and grandmother. She doesn’t remember Daddy died. She thinks he left her for a fictitious woman named Mary Margaret. It breaks my heart that she doesn’t remember how he lovingly cared for her. I’d rather she not remember me.

    With love

  12. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease – my father had it for the last 8 years of his life. It robs it’s victim of all dignity – it was so sad to watch my fathers mind drift away! I will certainly donate – this disease has to be stopped! Thank you for posting this!

  13. Two Special Wires (Jake and AngelFergi) and their moma, too says:

    Mayzie and Mom … we are right here on the journey with you … and are more than happy to donate treat money to help the cause. Dementia is such a sad long way to say goodbye … we know … and we thank you for your bravery and voice. For your Mom and Grandma. For Gussie and Teka’s Auntie Marie. For our Mom-Gramma. For all the people and their loved ones that suffer with this horrid disease.

  14. ((hugs)) it may have been hard to write, but every story needs to be told. we are so glad that your sister is running to help raise funds for this terrible disease. mom has lost grandparents to different things (though never to this) and as hard as the sudden deaths are, sometimes the lingering ones are worse. we are very sorry….

  15. I just donated and am so sorry I couldn’t donate more. My heart goes out to you, I am here if you ever need me. I lost my Grandfather and my father-in-law to this most dreadful and heartbreaking disease bu they were much older than your beautiful and brilliant mother. I am so sorry.I know how hard it is to watch the disease progress. I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Your mother has to be an amazing woman, look at the wonderful daughters she raised! xoxo

  16. Amber,

    Although I’m unable to donate at this time, I wanted to comment here to send you a hopeful message. Not one of hope that your mom will beat this but one to say that there are good and positive things that can be found in this disease.

    My mother was diagnosed in 2002 and in 2004 I quit my job to care for her full time until she became violent and needed to be placed in a facility. It was the worst, most horrible, fun, awesome experience of my life and I would do it all again if I could.

    Friends and neighbours always asked if she remembered that I was her daughter. When I told them that she didn’t, they always said, “That’s so sad! It must be heartbreaking for you.” It was never heartbreaking to me because anyone can be a daughter but not everyone can be a friend. You see, she’d ask me for advice on different things, she asked me countless times to live with her and she liked to tell me countless stories about her daughter, Kathleen.

    I knew my mother was proud of me and liked the person I became but to hear her talk about me as she would to another person still fills my heart five years after her death.

    Alzheimer’s is a horrific disease that needs to have more research done but considering some of the other things that could have taken her, I’m grateful to have had the experience and to learn the things I did. It isn’t all doom and gloom and it makes me sad that that is what everyone focuses on.

    I hope I haven’t offended you or your family. And if you are still reading, please know that if you need to speak with someone that’s been there, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Sam and Pippen’s mom

  17. Two French Bulldogs says:

    What a difficult time for you. Kudos to your sister. You go girl
    Lily & Edward

  18. Sending you hugs and wishes for peace during this difficult journey. That picture from your wedding is so beautiful! You look so alike and so incredibly happy!

  19. Love your wedding picture with your mom. It is just beautiful. Mom’s dad has Alzheimer’s. It’s a horrible disease!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  20. Jed & Abby in MerryLand says:

    We snuck in to let you know about a pittie website we saw on the news [google Stuff On Scout’s Head] we thought you would like. We’re so sorry to hear about your memaw. If mama’s right arm weren’t so wonky, we’d write more, but we’re thinking of all of you with love.

  21. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and it is incredibly difficult to watch someone experience. We also visit several Alzheimer’s wings with the dogs and I think it has to be one of the most difficult trials a family can face. I’m sorry your mom is going through this! Your sister will do great, I just know it!

  22. My heart goes out to you and your family, not in pitty but because after losing my dad last year, I can’t imagine this happening to my mom. I admire your strength to go through the days and your strength to share your mom’s story. Wishing your sister good luck in her run and wishing you and your family peace.
    -Corbin’s momma Jenn

  23. My love and prayers are with you. Tony’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago so we share your burden and struggle…


  24. We’re so sorry about your mom. I can’t imagine how difficult the last few years have been for you all. Thanks for sharing with us.


    Jackie and Mom

  25. My grandmother also had Alzheimer’s. Our hearts are with you and your family.

    We pawed a visit to your sister’s page and made a donation.

    With Love,

    Maureen & Fendi

  26. We are a little late, but we made a donation.

    With love,

    Monty and Harlow

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