Respect the Future

I am still not sure if I will typically write more than once a week, but I read a moving story today that was fairly related to the story that I posted for discussion this past weekend. Maybe I’ll try to have weekly themes. We will just have to see how this blog evolves.

This thought-provoking and truly heart-breaking story was published yesterday in the New York Times and was written by David Brooks. The article tells the story of a husband, whose wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, who recently killed his wife and then himself. It is entitled “Respect the Future” and can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/opinion/brooks-respect-the-future.html

David Brooks reports in the article that a majority of the readers who commented on a news article recounting the incident sympathized with the husband, who did the killing. I have known people who have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, as I am sure have many of you.  I have long believed that this is one of the most cruel diseases which can afflict a person. This disease can rip families apart and turn friends and lovers into strangers. I even remember getting tears in my eyes when I read that Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer’s disease, (and I have never been a Ronald Reagan fan, as many of you know). It is simply devastating to watch a person whose body is perfectly healthy, slowly lose their mind.

This article really moved me and raised a lot of questions for me that I thought I would share:

Do you feel sympathy with the husband in this situation? What could drive a man who clearly loved his wife to do such a thing? Are there any circumstances under which you, personally, could condone this act? And if the husband had not been successful in his suicide attempt and had survived, would you convict him if you were on the jury?  Are there things that friends, family or society could have done to make this couple’s existance more bearable? Have any of you been faced with a similar experience of feeling isolated or hopeless when caring for a loved-one? And do have any advice or thoughts to share with others about how you could have been better supported by those closest to you or about how you recieved support from people you least expected?

Please share your thoughts when you have a minute! I will try to make next week’s stories more light-hearted, but end of life issues are certainly issues that effect all of us at one time or another. Thanks for reading.

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Filed under End of Life, Health, Relationships

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