45 years ago today my dad, John Gray, began his career at CBS Television in Chicago. It was the beginning of a great 32 year run - from the Windy City to the Big Apple and back (twice), and then out to Television City in Hollywood. He started as an account executive and retired 13 years ago as a Senior Vice President. (Slacker).
Dad loved his job a lot, and the people he worked with even more. As a family, we loved the fun and adventure that came with his career. CBS became, and still is, a part of our DNA. I never needed to know the address to CBS in Los Angeles - it was just right there on the corner of Beverly and Fairfax. But I'll never forget the addresses to the Chicago and NY offices - 630 North McClurg Ct, and 51 West 52nd. (The former was the home of the first televised Presidential debate in 1960).
Here's to you, John Gray. Remembering a what a great career you had, and how much fun we had being a part of it!
This weekend we polled primary caregivers and asked them what one thing would have the greatest impact on their quality of life. Not surprisingly, the number one item on our caregivers' wish lists was increased financial resources -- by a factor of more than two to one over any other choice. "More money" was chosen by 33% of respondents, while 15% identified more sleep, more help from family, and assistance with chores as their number one wish list pick.
Our small survey underscores the duel stresses on families dealing with Alzheimer's, who must manage the devastating effects of the disease while at the same time often wondering how in the world to pay bills that will only increase over time. As we go through the 2016 primaries and general election, I hope that a candidate emerges who will address the catastrophic financial impact this disease has on families and communities alike.
On a sunny spring day in May of last year those near and dear to my mom, Molly Gray, came together at the Chateau Marmont Hotel to celebrate her life and legacy. It was an informal gathering on the lawn where anyone who wanted to share a memory could take the mic and pay tribute to a life so brilliantly lived.
We were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of a guest that no one knew; a stranger to us, but not to Molly. David was striking: 6'4", his hair pulled back, wearing a black suit with no shirt. Awesome! I chatted with him before we began and learned that he helped care for someone else at the memory care community where mom lived and had met her there less than a year ago. What he told me, and later shared with everyone, was that he had been introduced to Molly in a unique way: one afternoon she was aggravated that he was in her way and punched him in the back! But more poignantly, he told us that she was so helpful, thoughtful, and caring of the other residents that he thought at first that she was one of the caregiving staff. Hearing this was a great gift to our family because over the last year of her life she became very confused and agitated when we visited, so we rarely got to see much of the real Molly we knew and loved. David told us that he almost didn't come because he hadn't known mom very long and didn't know our family. But, as he beautifully put it, "she was a person you didn't need to know long to feel like an old friend". Without knowing it at the time he had become a member of Molly's clan.
Having a loved one with Alzheimer's taught me a lot about the value of memories, and their fleeting nature. We're building The Memory Kit to bring people together in an entirely new way, so that the richest possible remembrance of a lifetime can be captured. So many people have memories to share, and we know you'll want to hear them all; from your family and friends, co-workers and colleagues, and, yes, maybe even a stranger or two. #yourmemoriesmatter
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