Alzheimer's is an awful disease.
It's a chronic neurodegenerative disease that causes one's mind to fail — slowly at first, and then more rapidly. Advanced Alzheimer's patients become completely dependent on their caregivers who, most of the time, they don't even recognize. Few things are more painful than watching someone you love go through the pain of losing the ability to communicate.
As awful as it is, the extent to which Alzheimer's affects the brain is also very difficult for many people to grasp. That's why photos such as the one in today's story are so incredibly powerful.
Redditor wuillermania's mother loves to crochet. She always has.Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease 12 years ago at the age of 54. Wuillermania says she's often described watching her mom succumb to the disease as her mind "unraveling." "When I came across the crocheting she did in the early stages of Alz[heimer's], it made me realize how fitting that actually was. Wuillermania posted a picture of the crochet work her mom did over the course of two years after her Alzheimer's diagnosis, and it's truly heartbreaking.
The first pieces of crochet look pretty standard.There's solid definition between each color, straight lines, and tight stitches. These squares were crochet very soon after the diagnosis.
Moving to the second row of crochet work, you begin to see things unravel a bit.The stitches are significantly looser. The patterns are still easily recognizable, however.
The third row of crochet squares is drastically different.The stitches are lumpy and uneven. In the square on the far right, the pattern is completely random and indistinguishable.
In the fifth row, there's a huge change in Wuillermania's mom's handiwork.The first piece of crochet is a loose square with a black circle in the middle. But after that, the crochet work is no longer square. It's loose circles with very uneven stitches. The final row of crochet work is the most heartbreaking...
At the bottom of Wuillermania's picture are two knotted lengths of yarn. They don't resemble actual crochet at all."I don't remember exactly when she stopped being able to crochet for good," Wuillermania wrote on Reddit. "She made squares for a while, then circles, then the little pieces of crochet, until she got to the point where she just carried around the needles and yarn in her purse (which was otherwise empty since she couldn't really hold on to valuables anymore.)"
Here's a picture showing the entire progression: