For every story you hear about living with Alzheimer’s that talks about sadness and distress, I think there are many, many more that tell of calm and wonder. That that was certainly true with Mom and, if I knew then what I know now, could have been much truer for my father.
Here are two examples:
In Bryan Cranston’s new book, A Life in Parts, he talks about his mother with whom he had had a difficult relationship
But there was a window of peace before everything started shutting down, Because of the Alzheimer’s she couldn’t hold on to the pain and resentment anymore, She got an illness that would not allow her to dwell in the past. And she was released. After she was diagnosed, we never argued again…We’d smell a rose on her walking path. We’d feed the ducks in the pond.
Or as Mike Myers recounted in a 2010 interview in The Guardian
My dad used to say: “There’s nothing so terrible that can’t be laughed at.” And he would laugh at the most horrible things – including his own Alzheimer’s. He found Alzheimer’s hilarious. I’m not kidding you – I’ve always thought his was an interesting philosophy. Once he got sick, instead of calling it Alzheimer’s he would call it “Old-Timer’s disease”. I would go: “Dad, you’re making a joke?!'” He’d say: “What can you do? You can’t bloody do anything about it.”
Every moment we have with them is precious and it’s the simple things that carry you through – a smile, a hug, a laugh…and feeding the ducks.