Monday, May 04, 2009
Memory and Hope
We don't subscribe to any of the specialty channels on television but I often wish we had HBO. There is a four-part documentary series starting May 10th on Alzheimer's disease and I am intrigued.
Through the years many parishioners have been afflicted by Alzheimer's and it is a terrible disease. Some of the brightest and most gracious people I have known have slipped into the netherworld of this dementia. Apparently Americans list it as the second-most dreaded disease, after cancer. I understand why.
One of our St. Paul's folk is now in a nursing home because of her dementia even though she is otherwise quite healthy. When I go to visit she greets me with a friendly "David, so good to see you!," recognizing me immediately, yet five minutes later she will sheepishly ask my name. Over the course of our time together she will repeat herself several times. We have a couple of households where one half of the couple works to the point of exhaustion caring for the other half whose decision-making abilities have long disappeared.
Christianity is a religion of memory, as are most religions, and it is also a religion of hope. This HBO series addresses the loss of memory and looks at the signs of hope. It would be wonderful if researchers could make the advances in finding a cure for this disease achieved in others.
What are your experiences with Alzheimer's?