A Dallas woman is inspiring others by sharing her family’s struggles with Alzheimer's disease. It's a disease that affects nearly 400,000 people in Texas, and there's still no cure.
"Well my mom has always been my biggest cheerleader," Sarah B. Smith said.
She said when her mom, whose nickname is Beauty, was in her early 60s, there was a noticeable change.
"There were a few years before that, that she was doing things that we just didn't realize was early onset Alzheimer's," Sarah said.
Underneath Beauty's smile, her physical and mental abilities are slowly being taken by this disease.
"Her speech, she can't get her words out. She knows what she's thinking, but she can't say it," Sarah said.
Watching her mother slip away, Sarah was also struggling -- and near an emotional breaking point.
"And I realized, when I finally fell to my knees and crashed, that other people needed to know what this really looks like," Sarah said.
So she started to share her family's journey online, and then in her book, "Broken Beauty." She gives an honest look at the challenges, but also, how to find love and hope through even the hardest days.
"And I just felt like people needed to hear and understand what it looks like behind the curtain and how scary it is, and how difficult it can be," Sarah said.
Her honesty has inspired people like Sandy Smith, whose husband was also diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.
"It helps to know other people are battling it every day," Sandy said.
Sandy said connecting with Sarah helped her gain perspective about the disease.
"This isn't the end of your family, it's just your family has a new dynamic," Sandy said. "I think her book helped me see that more than anything is that we won't quit being a family, we won't quit enjoying each other and caring for each other, but we'll have a new dynamic."
Sarah said she hoped sharing her family's struggles would help other caregivers and loved ones open up to receive support.
"There are a lot of people that are living in isolation and hurting and feeling empty, and I just feel like it's important to share and let people see that this is ugly, and it's cruel, Sarah said. "But there's also a way to find the beauty in it."
Sarah said the beauty for her is in the ability to love and serve her mother, without expecting anything in return.