Dementia, Death, and Dying

Tru here. Joseph Curl’s editorial in Washington Times of Sunday, July 20, 2014 is titled, “The politics of death and dying” and discusses the issue of dementia. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/20/curl-the-politics-of-death-and-dying/#comment-1513965074. My response, posted July 30, 2014, is below:

Like many other dementia patients (those of us still able to read and write), I am offended by the generalizations of this article. I can’t speak for others, but I can speak for myself:

Sometimes I see pity in the eyes of those I encounter, but actually I am very, very rich … and I am aware of that.

Even when my Grandmother was unable to recognize herself and most of those around her, even though she was embarrassed when her daughter needed to clean her up — she discovered a brand-new appreciation of prayer life. And her eyes reflected the knowledge that she was loved by the people around her — whoever they were. She especially responded to touch. In our world today touch is a very unrecognized and completely foreign communication. I saw how important it was to my grandmother … and I am beginning to see touch with new perspective myself. Even in those lost weeks she had the assurance that she was loved. She was rich … as I am rich.

I do not dread what is to come. I have learned from those who went before me and led the way. This is not a NEW path, even though it is unfamiliar to me. Like my grandmothers, I will travel this path with honor and integrity. Like these before me who led the way, I am much loved. Thank you to those who truly love me and continue to walk this path and hold my hand. Please stay with me. Even now I often forget your names but I don’t forget you are important to me. My brain is dying, not my soul.

((No; my writing ability has not suddenly returned. The above comment, posted in response to the Washington Times editorial, is an excerpt from the epilogue of my unpublished memoirs titled “Bits ‘n Pieces of Me: Memoirs to retain identity in the face of growing dementia”. Is that cheating?)

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