For thirty-eight years I was blessed with a father who I had wrapped around my little finger at first sight. He loved me and I loved him. And even after his official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2013, it couldn’t steal our love or deep connection, even as the disease proceeded to steal memory after memory. But, that’s not for it’s lack of trying.
Daughter of C. Geren & Judy Roberts, I was born and raised in Gifford, Illinois by my loving, devoted parents. I attended Rantoul High School where I participated in almost every extra-curricular activity possible, all while having the full support of my parents. Upon graduation, I attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. After teaching second grade for six years with the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District in Texas, my husband, TJ, and I decided to raise our family back in central Illinois where we could raise our children around grandparents.
The first year back in Illinois, I taught fourth grade for one year at Broadmeadow Grade Level Center in Rantoul. After that school year, I was then able to stay home with my son, Brock, and expect the arrival of baby number two, Jillian.
I loved being a stay at home mom! I enjoyed blogging, baking cupcakes, and planning parties and was noticed by the local news station where I was invited to be a monthly contributor on their nightly news program. The exposure I experienced from my monthly segments eventually lead to me hosting ciLiving, a magazine style, community-based, local television program on WCIA 3, where I still work today.
Five years after returning home to central Illinois was when my family began noticing changes in my dad, Geren, enough to seek help. Dad was no stranger to Alzheimer’s as his grandfather and father both died from the disease. At 57 years old, we began our journey navigating Alzheimer’s. There was nothing “normal” or “typical” about our journey. Our journey was more like a roller coaster and there was no getting off this wild ride.
They say hind sight is 20/20 and there are so many things looking back I wish we had known ahead of time. Too many “What if’s?”
In an effort to help other families navigate this disease, I have decided to start this blog in the hopes that it can help just one other family on this wild roller coaster ride find hope as we pray for a cure.
My Dad may have already finished the last chapter in the book of his life, but now it’s my turn to finish the story.