By: Jodi Arndt
Growing up, our pantry was always stocked with Lucky Charms, Cheetos, and Matt’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, that my friends, siblings and I would dive into while discussing the day with my mom, Rosie. The kitchen table was a game of musical chairs depending on which Arndt kid had friends coming over as Rosie would usher her six kids and their friends in and out, being the fiercest Memory-Maker we knew.
Our house on 1202 was a hub for neighborhood kids, our school friends, and Mom’s annual Arndt Holiday Open House. She spent months planning the annual holiday party, preparing for a packed house and sending out the invites. We would pitch in to get the house ready for the festivities – whether it was helping our Dad, Joe, vacuum up minuscule crumbs five minutes before the guests arrived or helping Mom pass around hot dog roll ups. We enjoyed inviting the people we love into our home to celebrate, to be together, to have some drinks, and to make memories. Mom was truly the maker of memories.
It’s ironic that Alzheimer’s has erased all the memories she so purposefully and diligently worked to cultivate and create for us all. As the plaque tangles invaded and reached further into her brain, our Dad became the chief “memory-maker” with help from all of us. Things change. With Alzheimer’s, roles change. But the need to feel love, to celebrate life, and be amongst friends and family was what we all needed.
Alzheimer’s does not only steal memories from those affected, but can also isolate and stress the caregiver too. The Arndt kids have lost not only our beloved Rosie to this disease, but our father, became one of the thousands of caregivers to die suddenly and unexpectedly just last year–likely due to the stress that comes with caregiving.
For the Longest Day this year, we kids are going to honor both our parents during Rosie Posies’ Longest Happy Hour. For the event, we want to invite all of those that we love to celebrate life and honor all those affected by Alzheimer’s. From selling Dad’s golf balls at a lemonade stand, to a photo booth and face painting-we are channeling our inner Rosie and are excited to make memories with everyone who attends.
As Rosie would say, “Everything in moderation, kids, one water for every beer!” We know, Mom. We know.
We hope you will celebrate The Longest Day with us.