Dementia Sucks!

So… I’ve not talked much about my extended family around here… but I have an Aunt – her name is Eugenia, but we all call her Genie. She and her husband worked for NASA for years as “trackers” of space missions. Her husband Don did much of the creation of the computers that ran our Naval ships and the first Space Shuttles. They tracked every Apollo mission, including 11 and 13 (the most famous of those missions). I actually have a certificate signed by all those wonderful astronauts from the moon walk thanking my uncle Don for all his contributions to that mission.

Buzz Aldrin salutes the U.S. flag on Mare Tran...

Buzz Aldrin salutes the U.S. flag on Mare Tranquillitatis during Apollo 11 in 1969. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today in the news I read that the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos has found the engines from that mission! He wants to raise them and put them in the Seattle Museum of Flight.

I was really excited about this news, and knew Aunt Genie would be too so I called her… and now I’m crying.

You see Aunt Genie is now 80 years old. And Dementia runs in our family, at least among the women. I told her about the amazing discovery, and she asked me “Now which one was that?” “is that the one they made the movie with Tom Hanks about?”  I replied, “No sweetie – remember Apollo 11 is the one Uncle Don got the certificate and Zippo lighter for – the moon walk mission, remember?” Apollo 13 was the one they made the movie about – the one that almost didn’t make it home.

She doesn’t remember. She worked on that mission, BOTH of those missions, side by side with my uncle. She talked about them a LOT when I was kid, I learned to love the space program from her…. I attended the Challenger launch because they were living in Sanford and working at the Kennedy Space Center at the time…

Space Shuttle Challenger's smoke plume after t...

Space Shuttle Challenger's smoke plume after the in-flight breakup that killed all seven crew members. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember in detail her talking about some of the other projects they worked on – The “Red October”, a computer modeling software that could draw anything to exact specifications in amazing detail.  All of these memories she’s losing… and it makes me sad, very very sad. I want to remind her of all of it, refresh her memory, help her… but alas, Dementia is stealing her mind and her precious memories.

I hate Dementia.




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