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Tony Hawk pens emotional note after visit with mom who has Alzheimer's

by Gina Vivinetto / / Source: TODAY

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Tony Hawk is opening up about his mother who has Alzheimer's disease.

The pro skateboarder, 50, took to Instagram with a tender photo of himself holding his mother Nancy's hand. In the caption, he shared details about their emotional meet on Thursday.

"I visited my mom today,” Hawk wrote. “She has 93 years of life behind her, but the last ten have been increasingly corrupted by Alzheimer's and dementia."

He explained that before his mom had Alzheimer's, a progressive disease that affects one's memory and other mental functions, she had worked as a high school secretary. She went on to teach business classes at a local college and eventually earned a doctorate in business education.

"She used to type so much that whenever we had a quiet moment together (usually in front of the TV), she would hold my hand and I could feel her fingers pulsating with keyboard strokes," Hawk recalled. "In other words, she was subconsciously dictating her thoughts and experiences through phantom keyboards in real-time."

Skateboarder Tony Hawk and mother Nancy Hawk
Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk opened up in an Instagram post about his mom, Nancy Hawk, who has Alzheimer's disease.Getty Images

Hawk admitted it once "annoyed" him to have her "fingertips ... tapping away on me" while the pair watched TV. Back then, he remembered, Nancy was "strong, vivacious, quick-witted, edgy and ultra supportive."

These days, she doesn't know who Hawk is.

"When I see her now, she doesn’t recognize me," he shared. "Sometimes there is a slight glimmer in her eye, sometimes she babbles incoherently, and sometimes she uncontrollably bursts into tears."

During Thursday's visit, the pair "mostly sat in silence," Hawk wrote, adding that he gave Nancy updates about their family —and also sips of Coca-Cola, "which she still loves, even through her catatonic condition."

"But then I noticed her fingers twitching. I’m not sure for how long; maybe they’d been moving the whole time and I wasn’t paying attention," he wrote, adding that the gesture reminded him of "her habit of typing unconsciously throughout my life."

"And even though it may have only been her body (yet again) betraying her, it gave me comfort knowing that perhaps she is still in there somewhere typing away about her life, her experiences, her feelings, and our current conversation," Hawk shared.

Seeing his mom's fingers move reminded Hawk of her strong, lively character.

"Most of my visits end with a feeling of despair and impending finality," he admitted, "but today I left with a sense of hope. I like to think of my mom air-typing 'f--- Alzheimer's' as I walked away."

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