Archive for July 24th, 2010
I know I have written here in the past about my brother-in-law, Mike who suffers from Alzheimer’s. He is staying for a few days at my place as he is en route to a new way of living. It’s time to be in a safe harbour for him. Life lived on his own has become too fearful and too lonely. I took this photo yesterday while he was engaged in doing dishes with his sister, my wife. As usual, I was taking photos for family and event purposes and didn’t realize that I had also taken a photo for this site. Standing outside the house I was trying to get a photo of him in the kitchen as the photos taken in the house were poorer in quality because of the excess light coming in through the kitchen window. As well, I was only able to get a photo of his back while he was at the task. In many ways, I think that this photo shows something about the reality of Mike today – a man who has lost much of his sense of self.
In a way, when I see Michael, I see the man I could have become if I had rejected the work that came out of “crisis,” that pivotal moment when one is assaulted by deep questions of self-worth; those questions of identity, purpose and meaning. I could have chosen to be the victim of another meaningless life in a meaningless culture rather than choosing to be the hero of my own story. Michael didn’t have a choice, or so I think. Alzheimer’s made the choice for him. For the most part he is somewhat happy though I don’t for a minute think that he is without anger, angst, confusion or fear.
I could have chosen a medicated life as a way to stay in the world. However, I know that I would have become a ghostly type of person, not a vibrant “full” person. It isn’t always about choices, I agree. But, when there are choices to be made, what will the response be? Will it be for clarity and the suffering that comes with it? Or, will it be for as much relief from suffering as one can take and still hold on to some small bit of “self?”