My journey began in 2006, nine years ago, when my mother, Ernestine Taricani, age 56 was diagnosed with Early On-Set Alzheimer’s disease. Jenn, my oldest was six and knew grammie before she was sick, saw her get sick and ultimately watched her until her death at home. Jenn is now turning 15. Mackie my youngest was three and never really knew grammie before. She only knew her sick and watched her deteriorate until till the end. They bonded very closely in the short time they had together. Mackie is now turning 12. It started with the small things like not balancing her checkbook, late bill paying and misplacing cards and gifts she bought. Then moved into her drinking coffee is her main food source; while she did cook a piece of chicken each night, but fed it to her cat. Driving to work at different hours including the middle of the night and early in the am and not being able to find my house after seven years and her stopping by almost daily on her way home to visit her granddaughter. The last one was it; co-workers were out to get her, which in turn was correct. They were looking to fire her for lack of job abilities (due to her mental capabilities), which we knew nothing of at this point. I got very involved and took the reins, I made the neurologist appointment and had a PET scan done. We received the results and were told the news right before Christmas and had her retire in March 2007, after 33 years with the State Health Dept. with full benefits. We decided to sell both our homes and buy one new one for all of us. We chose Newington, mom’s hometown and mid- year moved by 6 year old from 2nd grade in December 2006 and my youngest age 3. We all moved in while we sold mom’s home and then did a huge renovation to the new house. We wanted to make it handicap accessible for down the road. I did a lot of reading online, in books, asking questions to people I knew, joined chat rooms and talked with doctors. I was like a sponge soaking up all the information I could so we would be able to take care of mom until the very end. Which we were able to do and I have a lot of people to thank for that as well as the Lord himself. The house was all designed with wheelchair, walker, hospital bed, commode, oxygen and hospice care set up in mind. My mother went to Avery Heights Adult Daycare Monday thru Friday from 8:30 am until 4 pm except for certain holidays and snow days. It was my respite time and her life, fun enjoyable and what she lived for. So my family that had started as four now grew to five and included grammie and all the changes we could have never anticipated. My girls missed sledding like other children when gram was home and all the other fun activities their friends were doing. They were always troopers even if they felt at times differently. After all they are just children right? It was definitely a very rough, tough, heart wrenching, funny, loving caring, eye opening and devoted until the end experience for us all. She was able to stay in the home, in her room as was her and our family’s wish. My girl’s sacrificed a lot for their age but also gained life lessons that will be with them forever. Memories of grammie that will sustain them, fulfill and humble them as they enter the world. I didn’t have any family to help, it all fell upon my shoulders and I embraced it. She was my mom… why wouldn’t I? Both my daughters have been great advocates for grammie, helped me when I needed another set of hands since my mom was always under the age for any and most assistance programs, or to help make her smile and laugh!!! Her pension and SS Disability paid for private care when we really could squeeze it in, especially towards the last six months. It was very hard for me to take care of my mother and myself for all those years alone, I struggled with it but never regretted the decision to this day!!! It gave me very valuable time with her that I would have lost in any other situation. My husband worked hard so I could stay home and take care of her unconditionally and she recently passed away on April 23rd, 2015. I have never felt such a horrible pain like this loss and if my knowledge and caregiving skills can help others then I am all for reaching out and Paying it Forward!! I want to continue to make my mother proud of me!