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I’ll never forget the moment when I realized my mother no longer knew who I was. For every child of a parent with Alzheimer’s, that reality is a devastating one. How could she not recognize me? Her smile was friendly, but her eyes seemed vacant. She appeared confused. She seemed to be asking: Who is this stranger sitting beside me?
I thought of my mother as I watched 59-year-old Tennessee Volunteers coach Pat Summitt announce that she was resigning. For nearly four decades, she had coached the women’s basketball team she loved. The AP reported she was suffering from early-onset dementia. It had reportedly been causing her memory problems. As I watched Coach Summitt courageously announce that “the time has come to step into a new role,” I couldn’t stop thinking of the lost look in my mother’s eyes.
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