It creeps in slowly and tactfully, systematically erasing the images and memories that make up the scrapbook of your life.
It floods your foundation causing deep cracks and crevices and it crawls into the well lit tunnels that send messages that guide you in how to chew, swallow, speak, walk and think and it darkens them with its filthy dirt.
It confuses, mystifies and destroys. It holds you hostage and when your loved ones try to free you, it throws you into solitary confinement - no trial, no jury, just a corrupt judge, hammer down on an iron table.
Yet day in, day out, they return hoping to find a trace of you.
They need to do something that makes them feel like they are doing something. So they brush your hair, rub lotion on your arms and back, buy you new slippers. They nurture and nourish you with your favourite food that they prepare when they return home because they can't sleep and they need to feel like they are doing something, anything that may make a difference - perhaps bring back a speck of memory or a smile to your face.
There are others - so many others. Some are bedridden, others are mobile. Family members are worn yet they draw alliances; together they speak of what was and they share their anger, their sorrow over cups of coffee in a stale lit room at the end of the hall.
They look for signs - a gesture, a shift in the eyes, a blink, a whisper, a deep breath. They would give years of their lives for one day with you.
But they won't get that day because Alzheimer's robs minds, souls, life and all of its treasures. It takes husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers.
It's a professional heist in an art gallery filled with beautiful, precious, adorned paintings. Entire canvasses are removed, trimmed and rolled up leaving nothing but the frame.
It's a daily battle between two sides - one conquers while the other vanishes. It's a family photo that fades like a curtain in the sun and there is no restoration.
Alzheimer's is everyones enemy.
It's an enemy in waiting.
And every soul it takes is one soul too many.
Alzheimer's is a THIEF.