Alzheimer's Reading Room
Many people who have cared for a person with Alzheimer’s can tell you shocking stories about their loved ones having moments of total lucidity.
These precious events can last anywhere from a few moments to several hours or even most of a day.
As the person’s illness progresses, these episodes tend to occur less often, and so when they do occur it’s all the more striking and precious.
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Here is a surprising example of one of Ed’s moments of clarity. Not only was he lucid, he even predicted the future.
Near the end of Ed’s life I had an interview for a marvelous new job. It went well and I was invited to have a second interview. It was some of the best news of my life and I was sad I wouldn’t be able to share it with Ed. I knew he wouldn’t comprehend the situation.
That felt tragic to me.
I had told him about the job possibility a few weeks earlier and he didn’t understand a word of what I told him. I could have been telling him I’d gone to the dentist that day or I’d fallen down the steps. It would have all been the same to him.
Nonetheless, I decided to tell him about the second interview.
“I have to tell you something that’s very important Ed,” I said, mindlessly picking up The Little Yellow One, one of his many stuffed animals.
“Oh, please. Tell me!” he said.
“Well, the American Academy of Family Physicians has a job opening for a grant writer and I applied. It would be a wonderful job for me,” I said, rocking in the rocking chair and keeping my words simple.
I stopped rocking and just waited for his response, expecting something totally unrelated like
“It’s nice that we live here in Romania,” or “Your shoes are so beautiful,” or “That lady on the television is the Pope.” But he didn’t say anything like that.“Oh! Marie! They will hire you,” he said, looking me right in the eye. “With your background and qualifications,” he went on, “and with all your experience and the tremendous success you’ve had over the years, they will certainly hire you.”
I just stared at him.
“Don’t worry. You will get the job,” he continued immediately, his eyes tearing up. “I’m so happy for you, Marie,” he said, his voice cracking a little. “I’m sure they’ll hire you.”
I was profoundly touched. Not only was he talking like the highly educated man he was, he also cared about me so much that he had tears in his eyes just thinking that something good was going to happen to me.
“Congratulations!” he said. “You will get the job. I’m one hundred percent certain.”
“Thank you,” I whispered. “It’s my dream job.”
I didn’t know what else to say. For that brief moment I’d had my ‘old Ed’ back.
What a precious and unexpected gift.
Ed passed away two weeks later - on January 14th. On January 28th I was offered the job.
Marie Marley is the award-winning author of the uplifting book, Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy. Her website (ComeBackEarlyToday.com) contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer’s caregivers.