Monday, April 12, 2010

An Alzheimer's love story

On Saturday morning I read a lovely article in the Good Weekend magazine, about the author of a new book revealing how Alzheimer's disease impacted her family. Vivienne Ulman's memoir about her father's devotion to her mother as she battled the disease promises to show the ups and downs of the disease's progress and apparently pulls no punches. I haven't read the book, but I was interested and impressed by the human stories revealed in "The Two of Us" interview.

I also watched a documentary about the emotional brain, and was struck by something that was said by the wife of a stroke victim – who had lost his ability to process and express emotions: "You have to hold a funeral for the person you married," she explained, "and learn to love the person you brought home from hospital."

The human capacity to go on loving, when all hope is gone, is amazing. There is comfort in thinking that, as researchers like Adam learn more about how the brain works in these situations, there will be more to offer in terms of prevention or cure of such devastating losses.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this mention, Melody.

    The interesting thing with my father's attitude was that whereas I grieved for the loss of my lovely mother to Alzheimer's, and struggled to deal with this new version of her, for him she was always herself. Until the very end Dad enjoyed Mum's company and saw her as still his beautiful bride. It wasn't ever a chore for him. And she continued to know him until she died, which I ascribe to his loving devotion.