The Fortunes of Friendship

Friends! We’ve all had them throughout our lives. We’ve had good friends, school friends, college friends, business friends and BEST FRIENDS!

The Best Friends are the ones that, if you’re lucky, last a lifetime. Sure, life gets in the way and may prohibit you from speaking to one another on a daily basis, but the communication is still there whenever you can make time. You catch up, find out what the other is doing, laugh, reminisce, and try to make a date and time you can talk again. Sometimes it works, and sometimes life and priorities get in the way. Somewhere down the road you’ll catch up and pick up right where you left off.

What happens when “LIFE” gets in the way and includes illness, maybe not to you but to a spouse, a child, a parent or grandparent. What happens to those friendships?

I can speak only of my friendships and I can honestly say, it has been been a mix of being happy, sad, lonely and surprising. I could easily blame it on many things like moving to Florida 30+ years ago, losing touch with folks who have moved and not know where they went or what they’re doing now, and I’m certainly not going to blame it on my Alzheimer’s. That would go against everything I speak about. By using that as an excuse it would make me a liar and I could no longer say “I don’t allow Alzheimer’s to define me.!”

To be honest, I don’t blame it on anything other than time and life! Those are two things that are in perpetual motion, that is until life comes to an end.

I must say, since my diagnosis in 2014, I have made some pretty remarkable friendships. Some are more of acquaintances, some are near, some are far, some are somewhere in the middle and some are re-acquaintances from decades ago. (Thank You Facebbook and other Social Media).

One such friendship I hold near and dear to my heart is with Sandy Halperin. Because of Alexander “Sandy” Halperin, I became an Dementia Advocate, a member of Dementia Action Alliance, a member of the Early Stage Advisory Group of the National Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago, IL, which opened up countless opportunities to speak at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, The National Institute of Health (NIH), and many other conferences, symposiums, and Educational Presentations.

On September 20, 2016, Sandy “literally” passed the Advocacy baton to me. He knew he was not able to do as much advocacy as he had been doing throughout the years so he passed the baton to me, with 1 requirement . . .
When it comes time that I am not able to continue my advocacy, I am to choose a recipient to pass the baton to. My name will be inscribed on the baton as Sandy did when he passed it to me. Fortunately it will not be ANY TIME SOON for I still have A LOT TO SAY!!!

The passing of the baton from Sandy to me, September 20, 2016
I brought the Baton to the Great Minds Gala in March, 2019 in Washington, DC where I gave a speech about “HOPE” as it pertains to the future of Alzheimer’s. This is where Sandy first presented the Baton as a beacon of hope.

Sandy has given permissions to Maureen and I and a few other folks to post information on his LinkedIn page. He has 30,000 followers on his page and he did not want the page to be empty of current news, stories and Research. So, we utilize his page to continue spreading the word and we are so thankful for him giving us the opportunity to speak to 30,000 of his closest friends.

Our most recent photo from February, 2020.

Sandy’s friendship is more than just a friendship. We are two people from different backgrounds but it was Alzheimer’s Disease that bonded us.
It was Alzheimer’s Disease that taught us ways to live with the Disease as well as we possibly can. It was Alzheimer’s Disease that gave us a platform to speak from.
It is Alzheimer’s that will keep our friendship going.

We both know that it will be Alzheimer’s that will cause other medical issues to take us away, but we don’t worry about that. We still have a lot to say and a lot to write.

Neither Sandy nor I want sympathy from anyone. We often talk about what we don’t want rather than what we do want. What we do want is for everyone to know we lived a full life. A life of passion, a life of hope, a life of love and a life of friendship!

Until Next Time . . . PEACE!
B

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