There is no clever picture to announce this post. Plainly said, more people than ever are showing up with Alzheimer’s or some sort of related dementia. One in two over eighty and many as young as 45 or 50 are diagnosed every day with this tragic disease. This isn’t really good news for Boomers or their children.
Alzheimer’s is a trickster. A very mean and wily trickster. The word, dementia, is from the Latin de–“apart, away” + mens “mind.” I watched Dan’s parents struggle, hide, ignore, accept and then disavow their own dementia. Clearly, they fit the definition of the word. They were “away” from their “minds.” Eventually, they knew only endless days filled with nothing past, nothing future, only the everness of right now.
I watched also my young neighbor in his early fifties who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. He and his wife were valiant against their thief in the night. But in the end, that thief (aka, Alzheimer’s), stole his thoughts, his dignity and finally, his life.
To honor their struggles … to allow a glimpse into their inner workings, I wrote a story entitled, All the Dancing Birds. The unpublished manuscript was a Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary finalist and the inspiration for the name of this blog.
One day I hope for this story to find its way to bookstore shelves. Hopefully before I’m eighty and one way or the other on my own spin of the Alzheimer’s wheel-o-fate.
Alzheimer’s, once a hush-hush topic, is now — at last — being talked about. On Monday, I’m heading out to buy the most recent guidebook to finding an agent willing to look at my manuscript. I just need one someone who’s willing to say “yes” to a fictional portrayal of the dark and twisty corridors that wind through a mind in full-throated Alzheimer’s disease.
This Dancing Bird is ready for prime time and just needs one able-bodied person interested in championing one small story. Until then, I’ll continue to revisit the manuscript until there’s not one errant word contained in its pages. I’ll continue to revamp its synopsis and accompanying query letter until I’m blue in the face.
If that doesn’t work, I still have the nub of that really nice candle that recently turned my dear friend from a possible breast cancer patient into a smiling I’m-too-sexy-for-my-bra woman. Hey, maybe it’ll work for a manuscript that desperately needs to see the light of publication.
Here’s where I place a smiley face! 🙂