I’ve been gradually deciding to tell the Eighth Day leadership team about my diagnosis. The issues we work on, it seems to me, are delicate enough that the others need to know. It’s been in our meetings over the past months that I’ve been very aware of my inability to remember things and it’s sometimes disruptive.
I was surprised by how moving the time with the leadership team was. There was little outward expression of emotion, but there was an unusual attention, not only to me but also to our little community of four. They recognized the implications of what I was saying and offered quiet support. Kent, as usual, was especially warm. I told them that I didn’t think my capacity to keep the financial books had yet been impaired, but that seemed hardly a concern. I’m beginning to realize how fortunate I am to have this small faith community around me.
Marja thinks I’m moving too fast in telling people, but so far this level of sharing seems important. “What if the diagnosis is wrong?” And that was my concern a couple of weeks ago, too, but it seems letting the people around me is too important. Besides, the diagnosis isn’t wrong.
I will still reserve sharing my diagnosis with a wider circle until things begin to become more obvious to others. We as a culture are afraid of Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s difficult for any of us to be around people who are out of it mentally. As much as people love and respect me, some will have to distance themselves emotionally once they know the diagnosis; others will believe that I am already unable to participate in the life of the community and simply not include me. Since there isn’t much of an upside to making a public announcement, I’ll hold off for a while, although I will tell the fourteen members of Eighth Day’s covenant membership at our next meeting.