It's well known that Alzheimer's disease robs its victims of their memories, but what isn't often depicted is the toll it takes on their personalities, including the skills and hobbies that were once second nature.
When Reddit user wuillermania, a 34-year-old woman from Camden, New Jersey, according to Bored Panda, came across a bag of crochet projects her mom had worked on in the first two years after her Alzheimer's diagnosis, she felt "compelled to lay them out in a way that tracked the progression and take the photo."
The daughter shared the image—of 14 crochet squares descending from oldest to most recent, a heartbreaking visual representation of the disease's progression—on Facebook and, later, Reddit, where it racked up 500-plus comments.
"I will never get over having my mother taken away, but at this stage, I want to do whatever I can to teach people about this disease and hopefully let someone else who's going through this know they're not alone," she wrote.
As wuillermania explains, her mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease 12 years ago, at the age of 54. Today she is "completely non-verbal and unable to care for herself in any way" but still relatively healthy, physically, thanks to the at-home care her family, especially wuillermania's father, provides.
The photo represents an "unraveling" of personality:
It has been years since she was able to do this, and while I knew how her ability declined, it was really the first time I looked at it all together.
I don't remember exactly when she stopped being able to crochet for good—she made squares for a while, then the 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).
I've often explained watching my mom succumb to this illness as watching her unravel. When I came across the crocheting she did in the early stages of Alz, it made me realize how fitting that actually was.
For more information on Alzheimer's disease symptoms and support for caregivers visit alz.org or call the Alzheimer's Association Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.
(h/t Bored Panda)