Struggling? Hurting? Angry? Bend Your Walls

Lonna Whiting
4 min readMar 8, 2022


Mom and I have the exact same mole on the top of our feet. The size of a tiny eraser and perfectly round and pink, we’ve both had our twin beauty marks since we were children. The only distinguishing feature is that my mole is on my right foot and hers is on her left foot.

I’m left-handed and she is right-handed. She’s an extrovert and loves people. I like to be alone and keep my true circle small.

We are mirror opposites, I suppose. Two beings reflected in each other from different sides. She is the ripple effect of my image in water.

Lately, though, we are a doubling. I see her in me so viscerally sometimes that I can’t tell which one of us is sick and which one is still walking around experiencing the world.

We are two people entwined in a singular story about how things go away and other things take up residence. She loses her mind and body bit by bit, and I gain little parts of her in my expression. A freckle. A raised eyebrow. A wink. A way of laughing. She escapes. I appear. There she goes. Here I am.

I am the face of her dying. She is the face of my living.

Our double lives represent a shared experience that’s ironically unduplicable. But the sum of her devolution to my evolution is revolution. So, I bend the wall. I don’t break it. I use my mind to recognize the grief and often-hopeless feeling of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s for a decade now.

I bend the wall because breaking it means I leave rubble behind me. Like war, but this is life.

Another time I learned to bend the wall was when I drank pretty heavily for the first six years of my mom’s #dementia progression. On the left is me in 2018 just after I’d completed a 30-day alcohol-free challenge. This challenge has now lasted a little over 3.5 years.

At the time, I didn’t think I’d know how to cope with mom’s disease without wine. What would I do if I wouldn’t be guaranteed the promise…



Lonna Whiting

Writer, Alzheimer’s Slayer and promoter of alcohol-free living

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