Oct 19, 2010

Essay: 'The Sad Goodbye' by Former First Lady Laura Bush

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Laura Bush's father had Alzheimer's disease. He died in 1995.

Here is an excerpt of her essay The Sad Goodbye:

In writing my memoir, "Spoken From the Heart," I reflected on my own family's experience with Alzheimer's.

What my mother noticed first was that my father could no longer fill out bank deposit slips. He would stare at the lines on the forms, a look of confusion washing over his face. So Mother began to make the deposits for him.

We never got a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or a specific form of cognitive failing. But we saw his mind erode.

Once, he asked our daughter Barbara to get him some "B & Bs." He meant M&Ms, but he kept saying "B & Bs." In her 10-year-old way, she understood him and came out of the grocery store with the brown bag of the bright candy just the same.

When my mother took Daddy to the doctor, one of the questions on the cognition test was "Who is the president?" And my father couldn't remember President Clinton's name. Then the doctor asked, "Who was the last president?" And Daddy had no idea, even though it was my father-in-law, George H. W. Bush.

To read the The Sad Goodbye -- go here.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room