Alzheimer’s Awareness happens in November

Nothing inspires me more than well-crafted lyrics paired perfectly with a haunting melody.

When She Loved Me is one of those songs.

It was beautifully sung by Sarah McLachlan back in 1999, as part of the soundtrack for the movie Toy Story 2.

When I first heard the song, it was clear by the circumstances of the film that a lonely “toy” was singing the song to the little girl she used to be inseparable with – only now she’s all grown up.  When taken in the context of the movie, you rarely assign the song any other possible meaning beyond what the film intended.

But the other day the song popped up on my play list (somewhat randomly) and now 17 years later the song has come to mean something infinitely more important to me.

I replayed the song numerous times that day and came to the same conclusion over and over again. The lyrics tell the story of a mother and her daughter – the mother now stricken with Alzheimer’s disease.

Each passing line seemed to reaffirm my conclusion. Suddenly a song, which had little relevance beyond a somewhat poignant moment in an animated cartoon, was an anthem for the toll Alzheimer’s will have on the relationships we so often take for granted.  Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself…

When She Loved Me

When somebody loved me, everything was beautiful
Every hour we spent together, lives within my heart
And when she was sad, I was there to dry her tears
And when she was happy, so was I, when she loved me.

Through the summer and the fall, we had each other, that was all
Just she and I together, like it was meant to be
And when she was lonely, I was there to comfort her
And I knew that she loved me.

So the years went by, I stayed the same
But she began to drift away, I was left alone
Still I waited for the day, when she’d say “I will always love you.”

Lonely and forgotten, never thought she’d look my way,
And she smiled at me and held me, just like she used to do,
Like she loved me, when she loved me

When somebody loved me, everything was beautiful,
Every hour we spent together, lives within my heart
When she loved me.

I wish I could say I was ignorant to the realities of this song or the way Alzheimer’s can destroy the relationships we hold so dear, but I’m not.

But I have been around during some small miracles – times when that special someone smiles and holds you just like they used to do. It’s during those times when you’re reminded of just how much somebody used to love you. And at times you may be fortunate enough to witness how they still do.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.4 million.  Get involved this month, and help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.