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Help This Sparkler Edit An Application Essay About Alzheimer's

Help This Sparkler Edit An Application Essay About Alzheimer's

By Miss Marm

Sarah needs help with her application essay. Read it over and leave your suggestions in the comments!

I'm writing for the "Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you" prompt.
I have exactly 500 words (I hope!) and I feel like it's kind of crappy, just because I did it in two hours. Hopefully you can help my squelch it down! Thanks!

"Four Simple Words" (<--not great, but I can change it if you think I should :p)

I’d never been to one of these places before except for the occasional piano recital when I was six. This time I’d brought my piano music, but for a more personal reason than obligatory – my grandmother was there.

It had been three years since my mom and her brothers and sisters decided to put her there. They just hadn’t been able to take care of her anymore. My grandma was in a severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative disease that kills the cells in the brain, causing the victim to lose memory, become confused, lose the ability to speak, and eventually die. At this point, she had lost the ability to speak and most motor function.

Led by my grandfather, we went into the dining hall to join her as she was eating. It was then that I spotted the piano. Obviously little used, it was sitting desolate in the corner. Apparently a nurse saw me staring longingly at it and read my mind – she nodded with a smile. I walked over to it and sat down.

The notes came sweetly out of my fingertips without even opening my book. I swayed to the music and let it flow through me. When the song was finished, I turned around to go back and saw eyes looking at me. Hundreds of eyes, eyes that are often vacant, unseeing. They were interested! These degenerated, immobile people were interested! I couldn’t go back to the table where my family was sitting, I had to keep playing.

Finally, the nurses began wheeling the residents back to their rooms. Dinner was over. They left my grandma there, because they all knew that her family was here. One by one, then two by two, my family started to leave, letting me stay alone with her. The vacant stare was back, but I just knew she was there. So I started talking. I told her I loved her, how much I missed her. I told her about the new dog, how I knew that we both loved animals. She didn’t talk, probably didn’t know who I was. But I kept talking. Anything to keep the sad, sad silence away. Eventually we left and went to our
respective hotels, because the old family house was too small for the twenty-something members of our family.

The weekend went on. We celebrated my grandma’s birthday at her house, and the next day we all began packing to go home. My dad and I helped put her in the car, wheelchair and all. It took forever, but we did it. My grandfather got into the car to take her back, and we shut the door, but opened the windows. Then I said it. I said that I loved her. They began to drive away, and my grandma, very faintly, replied. “I love you too!” No one expected it, and jaws dropped. Tears fell from my eyes.

The next day, I declared my confirmation name to be Margaret. After my grandma.

What do you think? How can Sarah improve her essay?

Related post: Application Essay: Shuffle Shame

Topics: Life, Miss Marm
Tags: college applications, application essays, grandmothers, peer editing, alzheimer's

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