My mom developed Alzheimer’s at around age 75, and I’ll never forget her response when I tried to console her with, “Well, at least you don’t have cancer and feel pain.” Her reply penetrated the depths of my soul: “But emotional pain is even worse, and nobody understands the emotional pain you have to bear.” Still Alice walks you through one person’s journey into Alzheimer’s, and although it’s a fictional portrayal, it gives an accurate and heart-wrenching look into this devastating illness. Still Alice was written by New York Times best-selling author, Lisa Genova, who is a neuroscientist, earned her PhD at Harvard, taught there, and researched her topic thoroughly before writing. Alan (my husband, who’s an internal medicine physician by background and now the CMO of a psychiatric hospital) read the book and was so impressed that he could hardly wait for the movie to come out. In 2014, Still Alice did come out on film and received all sorts of acclaim, especially for Julianne Moore, who won “Best Actress” from the Academy Awards, Globe Awards, etc. etc. etc. (literally) for her remarkable performance. What’s the plot? In brief, Alice was a brilliant linguist and professor at Harvard (although that was changed to Columbia in the movie version) who was out for her usual jog one day and got lost. Over time, it becomes obvious to her and her husband (played by Alec Baldwin) that something is seriously wrong, which her neurologist eventually diagnoses as early-onset, familial Alzheimer’s. The rest of the movie takes you through the progression of the disease and how their family (with 3 young adult children) cope with all the related changes and stresses. Their youngest daughter (pictured above) ends up helping out (which is what I did at first, although because I was homeschooling our 7 children and had an infant, my sister gallantly took over for several years)…and the conversations sounded all too real, right down to the father telling his daughter, “You’re a better man than I am.”If you get a chance, I’d really recommend this movie. Frankly, Still Alice gave me the creeps, because it made me face (again) the fact that I may develop Alzheimer’s. Thankfully, if I do, it didn’t happen 15 years ago (as was the case in Still Alice) and is more likely to develop 10 years hence, but I’ve definitely put in a request with our Father to die of a heart attack instead. 🙂
Meanwhile, are you prepared to cope with your future, no matter what happens? Are you prepared to die? If you’re not, may I encourage you with the “gospel”? It’s the wonderful good news that Christ died in our place, to pay the penalty for our sins, and that anyone who turns to him in faith will receive forgiveness and eternal life with Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”