Powerful, memorable and honest
Rosemary Thornton | Norfolk, VA | 01/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"October 2005, I spent several days at the bedside of my beloved Auntie, waiting for her to pass on. It was the end of a very long road for us. Those last few days, sitting at her bedside in a St. Louis nursing home, I prayed for her, held her hand, stroked her face and arms and even crawled up in her bed so that I could hold her in my arms and tell her how much I loved her.
On a sunny, brisk Tuesday morning, I was holding her hand when she took her last breath and left for heaven.
When she passed on, I stood there and wept. For the next hour, all I could think was, "Thank God, it's over. Thank God, it's over. Thank God, she's free."
Auntie had Alzheimer's for many, many years. I'd been her caretaker and advocate and power-of-attorney for the last five years.
All in all, it was light duty, as she was in a nursing home. I was the one who mended her clothes, kept her wheelchair tires pumped up, had conniption fits when she wasn't properly cared for (and scared the nursing staff into caring for her more properly!), sang her songs, gave her hugs, clipped her toenails, reviewed her medical chart once a month, talked to the doctors and nurses and inspected her body once a month for bruises and sores and anything else.
In 2002, when a friend came to town for a visit, I urged him to "come visit Auntie" and he obliged. After 60 seconds with her, he turned and ran back outside saying only, "I can't deal with this. I love her too much to see this."
That's when I learned more about what love really looks like. As St. Augustine said, "What does love look like? It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. It has the eyes to see misery and want. That is what love looks like."
And that's what this movie really brought out. True love - real love - is taking care of someone when they sink into the abyss of Alzheimer's. It's having the moral courage to hold someone's hand and stay with them, mentally, physically and emotionally, even when all that you know of them seems to have disappeared.
That said, it was almost impossible for me to watch this powerful documentary. Too close. Too painful. Too honest. But it was also a relief and a comfort. To know that my most secret prayers and thoughts and hopes (that caused me pain and guilt and regret), were the same prayers and thoughts and hopes that others experienced when dealing with this diseaase.
For instance, during the last week of Auntie's life, I caught myself praying *intensely* that she would pass soon. When the full force of that prayer hit me - the realization that I was praying *for* someone's death - I jumped up and ran outside and sat by the duckpond in front of the nursing home. Tears rolled down my face as I stared aimlessly at the small pond in front of me.
What was I doing? Praying for my beloved auntie to die? What kind of person am I to ask for such a thing? I'd been entrusted with her care and here I was asking God to end her life??
And in this documentary "The Forgetting" I saw that other family members went through this same torment: Wanting their loved one at peace but hating themselves for praying for someone's demise.
That's one example of about 25. There are a lot of secret thoughts one harbors when dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer's. And I'm talking about the person who *really deals* with the loved one. The person who is DOWN IN THE TRENCHES doing the fighting, doing the praying, and DOING THE WORK.
"The Forgetting" did a beautiful and honest job of capturing those thoughts and feelings and emotions that the loved ones face through the long, slow course of this disease.
Speaking as someone who just emerged from those trenches, I highly recommend this documentary. This morning, several hours after watching the video (last night), I feel more peace about Auntie's passing than ever before. I feel as though someone took my hand and said, "it's okay. You did all the right things."
Buy it, rent it, watch it, but be prepared to shed a few tears.
A must have for family members experiencing Alzheimer's.
apseals | Texas, USA | 06/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just finished watching the video The Forgetting as well as the bonus program included with the documentary hosted by David Hyde Pierce. I can not emphasize enough how much this video helped me to understand the complicated situation that families and patients experience when confronted with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. It covers everything: basic diagnosis information, scientific explanation of the disease, family support issues, hope for the future and questions that both caregivers, direct family members, and patients themselves would have. I feel that it is important to make sure that you follow up the video with the viewing of the special panel discussion that David Hyde Pierce hosts (included on the video and DVD). It made even more clear everything that was stated in the film and answered many questions in more detail than in the documentary. It is a film that strives to stay on a level that everyone can understand while still giving you very specific information. My mother was diagnosed recently and I have been reading and looking for information everywhere. I must say that this video was by far the best resource in one place that I have found up to this point."
This one you won't forget.The amazing advances in understand
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 04/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alzheimer's Disease is rapidly growing into the the #1 epidemic in the world.As we live longer the chances for many people to develop this disease is increasing.Director Elizabeth Arledge has created a dramatic and very precise documentary based from David Shenk's book of the same title.She has skillfully intertwined together the all-too-engulfing world of those with the disease and those that are the caretakers.Arledge uses great sensitivity and compassion in telling these heartwrenching stories of minds erasing and the people that painfully and helplessly watch a loved one simply fade away,then disappear altogether.This dvd,though,is not without much hope.The biological understanding of Alzheimer's and it's ongoing quest for drug cure is presented very simply and specifically so that those that are involved in some way with the ravages of Alzheimer's can gain medical understanding of the degenerative process,but still be warmed and encouraged due to the informative presentation of the tremendous medical advances in understanding the disease.The panel discussion hosted by David Hyde Pearce is extremely instructive and informative.As down of a subject that Alzheimer's can potentially be,anyone will ultimately be lifted and emboldened by watching this marvelous PBS special.There is hope and this dvd will bring just that.
Companion films would be A SONG FOR MARTIN (Sweden) and IRIS (BBC)as well as the audio casette series WHERE'S MY SHOES? and the book LEARNING TO SPEAK ALZHEIMER'S."
A must see.
Sean W. Scott | St. Petersburg, FL USA | 08/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an elder law attorney who deals with dementia and Alzheimer's on a daily basis I strongly recommend this dvd. It is a sobering and realistic insight into what is coming next in your journey as a caretaker. It is so valuable in fact, that I have several copies that I keep to loan out to clients. If you are dealing with the issue of Alzheimer's disease, you must see this dvd."