I am grateful for Darce Fardy, a former CBC journalist. Let me rephrase that. I would declare that when we write, we write until we can no longer hold a pen, so I would requalify my earlier statement with: Darce Fardy, a journalist, who formerly wrote for the CBC.
Mr. Fardy has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dimentia he calls it, and he has decided to share his thoughts and experience until he no longer can. I admire his courage and I am grateful for it. Mr. Fardy is 81 and one could assume his courage is not that noteworthy when he is of such advanced years. Not so.
I think it fair to say that most of us fear being robbed of our memory, of our ability to think clearly. For those of us who have had a family member(s) struck down by Alzheimer’s, the fear is heightened, sometimes to the state of paranoia.
My mother developed Alzheimer’s in her early seventies, a diagnosis that didn’t come until after years of looped conversation, of repetitive tales, and statements started with I may have told you this. Not once, in all the years of her sometimes gradual and other times hastened demise, did she say a word on the subject of Alzheimer’s, nor did we ask.
My mother was a force, one whose mere schoolteacher look could put me in my place and make my self-assuredness tremble. I am certain that though this wretched disease comes with a reflex of self-preservation, a need to hide its effects from others, the responsibility is on us to ask, to be open and to not lets its victims hide in fear and shame. The image of my mother waking in the night in a wave of lucid thought and being washed over with fear, brings me to my knees. I let her down. I let her fierce armour repel my obligation to let her share her fear, to pass that fear on to my shoulders so she could rest.
Mr. Fardy is one of very few trail-blazers hammering at the wall of shame that seems so inherent in this disease. We will all benefit from his courage, from his willingness to light the path that many of us will follow.