Why I Walk: Carol’s story

Carol and her husband Rick

Carol and her husband Rick

In June, 2013 Carol moved her husband Rick – then only 64 years old – into a memory care community in Modesto, Calif., where she also Walks to End Alzheimer’s. Following is an excerpt from one of her books of poetry, which are all about her journey with a husband with Alzheimer’s disease.

THE WALK
By Carol Miller

They gathered under awnings,
Beside tables covered with brochures
They cheered for speakers
Grouped in stadium chairs
They came because someone
They know had Alzheimer’s

Wearing purple shirts
They older ones walked slowly
Young ones with a bounce
In their step
A baby wore a onesie
Printed with the logo
And “The end of Alzheimer’s starts with me”

Who will this baby become?
What flower will she carry
50 years from now?
Did she come for Grandma or Grandpa?
Is Mom the caregiver with a yellow flower
Or is Mom carrying the purple flower
Remembering a parent lost to Alzheimer’s
Is Grandpa walking with his blue flower?

Carrying an orange flower
Is a brother, sister, aunt or uncle
Perhaps it is a neighbor
From down the street
Who looked after the person
When wandering started

They walked through town
At least three blocks deep
Filled with rows of people
Dotted with spinning
Pin-wheel flowers
Of purple, yellow, blue and orange
A fusion of sorrow and cheer
The Walk was done

“Every finish line is a gift”
The final speaker proclaimed
A grandson gathered up the flowers
But his grandpa was the only one
With a blue flower
Poppy said “He can have it.
I don’t need a flower
To remind me that I have Alzheimer’s”

Helpful information related to this story

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