"After apparently reaching the point where he could no longer bear to see the love of his life deteriorate further, our father ended our mother's life and then took his own life as well. This is a total shock to everyone in the family, but we know he acted out of deep devotion and profound love."
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Charles has been caring for his wife Adrienne Snelling for the last six years, Adrienne lived with Alzheimer's disease.
The couple recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.
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By all accounts from family and friends, Charles Snelling was a devoted husband.
Attorney Bruce Davis, a family friend for 40 years said,
"They had a special bond, a special relationship, which they shared with their friends. It's understandable to people that knew them well that they would leave their family, leave life together."Charles Snelling wrote about his life in the New York Times in December -- A Love Story and Redemption. Here is an excerpt.
Six years ago tragedy struck our household. My dear, sweet Adrienne was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This relentless wasting disease destroys the mind. I have now seen many people with Alzheimer’s, and it is a terrible disease. Many, besides losing their memories and their cognitive abilities, also get downright ugly and hostile. Not my sweetie. Although she is a very, very sick puppy, she remains to this day a sweet, happy, loving and generous person. How lucky for both of us. To have such an affliction in the household is a very learning experience. Some people quite promptly disappear from your life. But others, indeed most, rally around in caring and support. It’s quite touching.May they rest in peace.
So, here comes the redemption. It never occurred to me for a moment that it would not be my duty and my pleasure to take care of my sweetie. After all, she took care of me in every possible way she could for 55 years. The last six years have been my turn, and certainly I have had the best of the bargain. So I have dug in with the will. Adrienne likes to be with me so, everywhere I go Adrienne goes as well. We have wonderful helpers here in Allentown, at Estrellita, and in Washington. Certainly they have helped me enormously, but real care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s cannot be delegated. I did not need to be told that; I felt it in my bones.
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room