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'Letters' help daughter express feelings to mother with Alzheimer's

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Sue Green, right, says hand-written letters are a great way to remind her mother, left, who has Alzheimer's, how much she means to her. (Source: CBS 5 News) Sue Green, right, says hand-written letters are a great way to remind her mother, left, who has Alzheimer's, how much she means to her. (Source: CBS 5 News)
"With pen to paper it’s like you've actually written something, it's on something that someone can feel and they can keep bringing back out again and read," says Sue Green. (Source: CBS 5 News) "With pen to paper it’s like you've actually written something, it's on something that someone can feel and they can keep bringing back out again and read," says Sue Green. (Source: CBS 5 News)
“This is not a Mother's Day thing," Green said. "This is, 'My mom is important today and I don’t know where she’ll be tomorrow,'" says Green. “This is not a Mother's Day thing," Green said. "This is, 'My mom is important today and I don’t know where she’ll be tomorrow,'" says Green.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Alzheimer's can be an agonizing process for families. And one Valley woman hopes to reverse the experience, even for a few minutes, and make it an opportunity to remind her mother just how important she is to her.

Sue Green teaches journalism at Arizona State University and her mother suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

One day, her mother's forgetfulness became increasingly frustrating for her daughter.

But Green took a step back to reverse those frustrations. "I can't be frustrated," Green said. "She's not doing it on purpose. And then it sort of hit me that I was losing my mother."

So before it is too late, Green decided she needed to remind her mother how she feels about her. She wanted to do so in a traditional way that didn't involve a greeting card or, even worse, an email.

"We glance at them and then they're gone, we delete them," Green said. "But with pen to paper it's like you've actually written something, it's on something that someone can feel and they can keep bringing back out again and read."

Green sat down and wrote her mom and told her how much she loved her. And in the letter she remembered both the good times and the not so good times. All in the hopes that it would be a physical reminder to her mother of her love when she could no longer remember.

"This is not a Mother's Day thing," Green said. "This is, 'My mom is important today and I don't know where she'll be tomorrow.'"

Green hopes to encourage others to do the same thing. She wants people to take five minutes out of their day, write their mother a letter and tell her what she means to them.

But she doesn't want people to stop there. She wants everyone who does this to mail her a photocopy of the letter. Green hopes to take all the letters and publish them in a book, a book she hopes will raise money for Alzheimer's research.

"I don't want anybody else to have to go through what we're going through right now and if we can just overwhelm the heck out of this and really get people to really buy in and participate, I think there's a chance to do something really special here."

Anyone wanting to read Green's complete letter to her mother can visit her blog: perfectmomentproject.blogspot.com.

More importantly, anyone with a letter to mail Sue you can send it Susan Green/Letters to my mother P.O. Box 13641 Phoenix, AZ 85002.

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