Last night I finally got around to watching a Lifetime movie I had taped months ago called Forget Me Never starring Mia Farrow and Martin Sheen. What caught my eye to begin with was the fact that this movie was made in 1999 and it was about Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. How great was it that movies were made almost 10 years ago addressing the issues we are all fighting for so strongly today.
The movie appeared to be based on a true atory about a woman in her 50's diagnosed with EOAD and the struggles she had, especially with her husband, in accepting the disease and all that it would bring. She was desperate to find others like herself and eventually did become very good friends with another man. Both these people had very good careers who were forced to quit because of the problems the disease was causing. The man's wife had divorced him after he was diagnosed and he went to live with his sister. The two characters formed a close friendship, which would later dissolve when the man's sister had to place him in a "facility" because she could no longer handle his care.
What was most poignant, was that the woman Mia Farrow portryed just wanted to talk to her family about what was happening to her and who was going to take care of her when she was no longer able to do so herself. She had a hard time breaking through the denial. Then I thought....Mike & I never really talked about the ravages of the disease and what it would do. We had quite a few conversations within the days after diagnosis, but we never really spoke about it again. After seeing this movie, I wonder if Mike NEEDED to talk about it, like this woman did. I began to feel guilty if that were in fact the case. Had Mike been scared, lonely and isolated and felt he couldn't talk to me? Did he want to talk? I know Mike's family was not very communicative (is that a word?). Mike kept alot to himself through the years, but after seeing this movie, I wonder if he wanted to talk about what would eventually happen to him. Maybe he knew that he would never have to worry about who was going to take care of him. I do remember him saying that it would be OK with him if I ever had to put him in a nursing home - he wanted to know that I should not feel bad if I couldn't care for him at home. I told him that NO MATTER WHAT, I would be there for him. I hope that gave him the peace he needed.
Courtney watched portions of the movie with me and vowed that the movie she makes will be MUCH BETTER. Yes, Courtney wants to go to college to become a director so she can make a movie about Mike the right way. She is deteremined and there is no doubt in my mind that she will make it happen. She wants the REAL story about EOAD to be told, through the eyes of a child that grew up knowing just this.