We have, for some time, suspected that my friend’s partner may have Altzheimer’s. This week it was confirmed.

Until now both of them have been coping with the situation, although living with her has been increasingly difficult. She has, for the time being, been lodged in a hospital for evaluation. This has given my friend some respite, although he visits her every day and can take her out when ever he wishes. He brought her to our house to break the news.

My heart went out to him as the stress and distress are taking their toll. For her, she was content to wander around the house looking at her different surroundings. She didn’t speak, she wouldn’t drink her tea nor eat what was offered. Her world is receding, becoming greyer. How much does she understand? She will answer with a nod if asked questions, and may smile. While she drifted, my friend cried. His future is as bleak, too, the only difference is that he will notice the changes, and have to deal with them.

As I see it, over the next few years the mind of the once intelligent and highly regarded HR manager will perish leaving only the vehicle that once conveyed it. That, too, will fade and die. My friend will struggle with his inability to care for her as he would wish, and will surround himself with a deep depression. Whether his pain is for the suffering he will have to endure, or the slow loss of his loved partner, I don’t know. But suffer he will.

Which life is worse than death? I don’t know. The only difference is that he will have choices, but she won’t.  Our healing thoughts go to him, to help with his coping and stress; to her, to help her with her bewilderment, and to his friends, so that they can offer whatever support they can on the journey ahead.

Find information about Altzheimer’s from the Altzheimer’s Society