Beginning at the End:
Portraits of Dementia by Joe Wallace

© 2019 Joe Wallace

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Aine Walsh

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Aine Walsh was born in 1935 in Moycullen, Ireland. Growing up on a farm with 15 siblings, Aine dreamed of moving to America one day. Farm life didn’t suit her and she moved to Galway as soon as she was able. Eventually Aine followed some of her sisters to America and moved in with the eldest in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Feeling pressure to Americanize, Aine changed her name to Anne and swore off dating Irish men. Despite her original objections, Anne met and fell in love with Edmund, a man from her small hometown thousands of miles away in Ireland. In 1962, the two strangers from Moycullen married and made their start in Lowell, Massachusetts. Anne and Edmund raised four children and eventually retired to Cape Cod.

 

She loved to exercise, walk by the ocean and shop. Anne famously took great care of herself, always dressing to impress. This passion was passed on to her youngest daughter Julie who now runs a women’s clothing store named after her mother—Aine’s Boutique. As Julie explained to me in Gaelic, Aine means radiance and beauty. I don’t know Gaelic, but after meeting Aine and her three daughters, I can’t think of a more fitting name. Aine met me with her easy smile and penetrating blue eyes. We sized each other up and she made me feel welcome from the start.

Unfortunately Alzheimer’s is a family story—five of Aine’s sisters also have the disease. Staring down this family history, Aine's daughters are coura­geously and publicly building awareness of Alzheimer’s and raising funds to help find better treatments and hopefully a cure.