Tag Archives: Dementia

When It’s Not Funny

Let me start by saying that my sense of humor has few limitations. I think we can, and should find laughter wherever possible. Life can be too serious so I allow people to joke about a wide range of topics and I usually don’t care about political correctness. I think laughing at ourselves is a good thing and helps us really appreciate and understand humor, which in turn makes our lives more fun.
But I have limitations. I don’t think there’s anything funny about tragedy or sickness. While I understand the healing power of laughter and how humor helps us cope with our illnesses, that’s a personal choice between those who are ill and anyone they care to share it with.

So when I read today that Will Farrell is going to star in a black comedy about Ronald Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, beginning with his last term in office, I was more than a little upset. Apparently, the premise of the movie is about an intern who has to convince Reagan that he’s an actor playing the President Of The United States.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. Dementia is not a punchline.

This isn’t a political statement. It doesn’t matter what political party you favor or whether you loved Reagan or hated him as President. The man was a human being with a family who watched him battle this dreaded disease for many years. A family he loved but could no longer remember.

I suppose I should expect noting less from Hollywood but this seems to take meanness to a new level. Of course this is America so I respect their right to freely create whatever type of entertainment they feel will make them their share of shock dollars.
I can state the obvious and ask whether these people would make a comedy movie about their own fathers battle with Alzheimer’s, but I think we know the answer to that question.

Five and a half million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s. MIllions more love and care for these individuals who were once as active and productive as the rest of us.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. I don’t know why that’s so difficult to understand.

Remembering Love

You won’t remember this.

Sitting on my lap and laughing at
something only you understand,
your hands come up to my face as you
bounce up and down on my lap and then
gently lay your head on my aging chest.

You won’t remember how that made me feel.

I tell you that I love you, that you’re
precious and funny and smart and
one day when you grow up you’re
going to hold someone in your arms
the way I’m holding you in this moment.

But you won’t remember my words.

You’re just nine months old but your eyes
can tell a story with only the sound of a smile,
and when you fall asleep nestled against me,
life rewinds to another time and place
that others whom I held will also not remember.

Time doesn’t exist in moments like this.

So I’ll hold you quietly against me until you wake,
until they tell me it’s time for you to go,
and you’re lifted away, watching your arms reach
out to me again so that our fingers touch for the
briefest of moments in an instant embrace.

You won’t remember the day that two women separated by
ninety years held each other and laughed.

And sadly, as day turns into night,

neither will I.