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If you're new to this blog and want some context for it, read this post from the day I announced my Alzheimer's disease and this post about the day I announced I had lost it. For more info, visit my website with my autobiography and all blog entries in chronological order for easier reading to catch up. There's also a sermon on the spiritual lessons I've learned through this journey through my damaged mind.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Telling Others

I've only told a few friends about the diagnosis.  Up until yesterday, the reactions had been muted: expressions of concern, good listening, questions and time for me to talk it through, but not very emotional.  But yesterday during our regular monthly lunch, Carol Marsh had a very different reaction.  After we’d talked for a while about her and her writing classes, I told her about my dementia.  She was stunned and could hardly talk.  I started to tell her almost immediately about some of the practical questions I was facing (preparing for our future, taking care of finances, and so on), but she quickly silenced me, saying she needed just to take the time to let it sink in.  (My launching into all the practical details would have avoided having to face Carol’s immediate pain.  )

We were together for about an hour, not saying much except the pain of it, how much it hurt and how she and I were going to face the future in our relationship.  She promised she would be with me, even after the “me” she knew was no longer there.  It was a sorrowful time, of course, but one that brought me closer to the incarnated reality of what’s happening.  My tears started coming up (but not out) for the first time, I felt deep sadness and a sense of loss.  Spiritually, I felt in different space, closer, perhaps, to the deeper reality of God.

Marja and I talked last night about telling our grown children.  She thinks rightly that we should talk with them before we go out to Napa for Christmas.  She suggested giving only an “introduction” over the phone, telling them about some “concern” about my cognitive function but not really telling them outright about what it is.  Trouble is, once the conversation starts, I will probably not be able to confine my talk to preparing them .

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