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"Maybe She Wasn’t Crazy After All.” Six-Word Stories on Alzheimer’s

IMG_20140623_113132_609Saturday, June 21, marked the summer solstice. On that day thousands participated in the Alzheimer’s Association’s sunrise-to-sunset event called The Longest Day. Dementia is a disease that tests your endurance and that’s the point of The Longest Day. The idea is simple: honor those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and their caregivers, by showing your stamina in some type of day-long physical activity.

Last year, ten weeks pregnant, I walked along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This year, with my new baby girl, we joined members of the Young Advocates for the Alzheimer’s Association in Phoenix, who hosted a family-oriented shindig with food, games for the kids and yoga to raise money awareness about the disease. My mom, who is in the end stages of frontotemporal dementia, was there with friends and family.

Kathy & mom- selfie

Selfie: Kathy Ritchie and her mom

I’ve been a part of SMITH Magazine since the beginning and a Sixer for years. I love Six-Word Memoirs because you don’t have to be a professional writer to tell your story. And everyone has a story. That’s why I wanted to use the six-word form to tell our story—the story of the caregivers, the children and the grandchildren of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or another dementia, like my mom. Here’s my Six-Word Memoir,  raw and to the point: “My mother is dying from dementia.”

As part of my Longest Day effort, I collected a handful of Six-Word Memoirs on this tough topic. Some also shared their own memoirs about life in general, including my friend Chris who lost his father to Alzheimer’s over a year ago: “Glad I got to know you.” Chris wasn’t at the event but his contribution says it all in six little words. Powerful stuff.  —Kathy Ritchie

 Six-Word Memoirs on Alzheimer’s from “The Longest Day”:

“Maybe she wasn’t crazy after all.”

“We need to cure this disease.”

“We’re here until Alzheimer’s is finished.”

“No one is untouched by Alzheimer’s.”

“You are nothing without your memories.”

“Your memory is not a guarantee.”

“Glad I got to know you.”

“Find the cure or lose yourself.”

“Hi grandma… It’s me, you’re granddaughter.”

“So we can forget the forgetting.”


  • Donald McKeon
    June 24, 2014

    Lost my mind. Not my spirit.

    The best.

    Donald McKeon

  • Jean Krewson
    June 24, 2014

    Dad doesn’t know my name anymore.

    Slept. Ate. Walked. Forgot broken hip.

    Photographs prove for future; I cared.

  • Mary Crescenzo
    June 24, 2014

    Planet A is about Alzheimer’s disease

  • JAD
    June 25, 2014

    Her battle has been my battle.

  • Lillybrook
    June 25, 2014

    He never forgot repairing field tractors.

  • Lillybrook
    June 25, 2014

    Forgot my name but remembered love.

  • Jan
    June 26, 2014

    She can still talk to babies.

  • Kharis
    January 10, 2015

    Drew close as dementia separated us.

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