Thursday, July 9, 2015

When She Could No Longer Dance

Over Easter Weekend we celebrated my daughter Amelie's Christening. Afterwards we had a luncheon at my parents' home in Asheville. Traditionally at these Boylan gatherings we end up with Van Morrison on the speakers and copious amounts of singing and dancing. My father grabbed my mother to shag/jitterbug as they always do but this time was different. My mother was lost. She just clung to my father and shuffled her feet. It was at this moment he realized his dance partner from the past 40 years no longer knew the steps.

I asked my father's permission to use this photo. It is pure and raw and emotional. This is what he lives with EVERYDAY. It is what my brother and I live with everyday; albeit from afar. This is why I devote so much time to helping the Alzheimer's Association. They are our lifeline. They provide us with support groups, events, networking and message boards. The people I have met through the Alzheimer's Association (and through blogging about this topic) are the most empathetic listeners to our story. 

This will be my fourth year walking to End Alzheimer's in Charlotte. My mother has changed so much since her diagnosis in 2011. I would stay she is Still Barbara, like the movie "Still Alice", but she is not. I know that she is still here with us sometimes but the inner workings of her mind that made her so uniquely her are almost gone. 

I ask that you join me in the fight against Alzheimer's. Every slipped fact or missed detail of my life sends me into panic mode that I will develop this dreaded disease. I don't want my children to go through what I am experiencing. I want to spoil my grandchildren. And I want my husband and I to enjoy our golden years.

My personal page is here. Please consider making a donation or walking with us.

Katharine, Beau and Robin (and all that love BB)


  1. Those photos made me weep. You're a wonderful daughter and in my thoughts.

  2. You are all in my thoughts and prayers and send you much love. Barbara is lucky to have such a special, Mollie

  3. Katherine, as always so beautifully said! Thank you for sharing the picture of your Mom And Dad. It is as beautiful as it is sad.

  4. This is so moving in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your family's story, I know it helps others. Thinking of you and your family. Your mom is so lucky to have such an amazing support system. Your family's love shines bright.

  5. Hello Katharine and Robin,

    Jay Baudeir forwarded this to me.

    I miss my friend, Barbara. We had a lot of fun in our "younger days". Back to when Beau was a small child and Katharine and my daughter were not even a thought. I have some great memories of long ago and even recently when we went to Commanders Palace when Barbara was in New Orleans for a visit.

    Seeing this did bring a tear to my eye.

    Marilyn Hardy Mitchell

  6. I watched as my grandmother slowly retreated inside herself. I remember her last words to me before she stopped talking, and the last time she looked at me with recognition in her eyes. I ached for it when I could no longer find it and I missed her before she was gone.
    It must be hard to balance being a devoted and engaged mom and wife with also being the daughter you want to be to both your mom and dad during this time. You hurt for what you are missing and yet, you also hurt as you watch you loved ones go through this as well. I send love and prayers to you and your family, and support for Alzheimer's research, resources, and a much hope for cure someday soon.

  7. Sending lots of hugs my friend!! You know Alz is one of the charities we support and I hope and pray we can make strides to a cure sooner rather than later. I've been catching up on your blog and it just sounds like you cannot catch a break these days. I hope you get to relax on vacation and take your mind off things for awhile.

  8. We love you and your family so much. You are all such special people and your love for each other has always been an inspiration to me. Those photos are heartbreaking. I can hardly bear to look at them. I hope that you are all trying your best to take care of yourselves during such an impossible time. Our love and prayers to you. Please give your Mom and Dad a hug from the Stoney girls and also one for you. Be strong.

  9. That beautiful image of your parents made me burst into uncontrollable tears. God bless you and your family. We try to support ending Alz whenever possible.
    Hugs to you, friend!