When I was young, my dad encouraged me to start a stamp collection. I acquired a pretty impressive collection from all over the world. These small images took me on grand adventures of travel, art, and global culture if only through my imagination.
When I came across the current Alzheimer’s stamp last summer, instead of dreaming through the image, I saw reality. My reality. My mother. My grandfather. Every man and woman who lives with Alzheimer’s all over the world. It is my hand protecting my mom and holding her hand as I walk with her while I place all of me at her feet to provide her the best quality of life in these tender years.
Not always visible behind the hand of the caregiver, is what comes along with being a hands-on caregiver: joy, fatigue, love, depression, compassion, anxiety, fortitude, PTSD, faith, doubt, community, isolation, sacrifice, and offering.
It’s a full package of things wanted and unwanted. I see and have experienced all of it in the image of this semipostal stamp issued in 2017, the first of five that will be issued over a 10-year period. I’ve read that the second, a Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder semipostal stamp, is to be issued this year.
The cost for the stamp is 65 cents with net proceeds distributed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to aid in Alzheimer’s Research funding. Each time I place one of these stamps on an envelope to mail out, I name and honor someone I know who is living with Alzheimer’s or someone who has lost a loved one from this disease. Pennies accumulate and the extra ten for one of these stamps are priceless!