A close relative is, I am told, beginning what has been called ‘the Long Goodbye’. He is exhibiting the first definite signs of ‘early onset Alzheimers, a condition for which there is no cure, ‘some’ palliative drugs and treatments; but the inevitable decline of the mind into a benign chaos is, unfortunately, his destiny.
As to his eventual decline, I have no answer; as does all reputable medical concerns; but I do have one very personal question which I must grasp, myself. He went through a very turbulent divorce many years ago, leaving a daughter who always has had, probably through her embittered and intransigent mother’s ideas and stories; a definite slanted ideal of her estranged father. That daughter has herself married with one daughter, and contact with my relative has been equivalent to the ratio of storms in Death Valley. But the question which I must ask, and indeed answer myself is this: ‘do I initiate contact with his estranged daughter, and then tell her that her father is in the first stages of a complete loss of all memory, of losing all knowledge of the true happiness of ‘family’, however long ago those memories existed: then ask her to make her own mind up as to whether to rekindle a relationship damaged by over thirty-odd years of poisonous propaganda courtesy of her own mother; so that she might say ‘farewell’ to one who might not even recognise her in a few short years?
In my own life, I have had that question. I argued with my eldest brother: it was an argument, as usual over politics, and our different ideals, and beliefs, and we just stopped speaking to each other. He died quickly, after a terrible illness struck him down, and we never spoke again, or became reconciled; and that lack of reconciliation will last, for me at least, as long as I shall live.
Solomon had it easy; but real life is truly difficult!