An Alzheimer last contact

Alzheimer is a sad and mysterious process. It let the spouse in an awe, watching their other vanishing into themselves.

They remember how to talk, but they sometimes wonder who’s this person living in their place… They sometimes just sit, like lost into nothing. They watch you with something special in the eye. They are afraid, sometimes…

My father has been there. He rests in peace now…


These last weeks I have been in contact with old persons or stories : one man who is slowly sinking into Alzheimer, one woman who becomes a bit… old (lazy for certain things (cooking, cleaning), or repeating things two or three times), and another who had to be put in a retirement home because she fell on the floor too many times…

I heard dialogs, I detected some patterns in the families around…

  • They talk about them as if they were deaf, or kids, or “not here”, or non-understanding. The sick or old persons become like “objects” – and the talkers don’t imagine that this poor person maybe hears and understands we’re talking about them… as a silly person.
  • They talk to the spouse harshly, giving them “advices” about who to see and meet, what to do, where to “put” them – non realizing how hard it must be for this person to do that, to lose their lifetime sidekick, to consider them as… lost. It’s hurtful!

And actually, at one moment it becomes obvious that the sick persons don’t understand anymore. Anything?

I know why it’s hard for me! Because I have too much empathy. For both worlds : the sick persons (my brain tries desperately to understand what they do understand), and the helpers and spouses…


As my father was almost lost into this oblivion world, he one day called me on the phone as I was walking to work. It was a surprise because he was at an advanced stage of his sickness, and normally couldn’t phone alone anymore (or even have a little walk in the village without losing himself).

The person I heard on the phone was my father. He had a clear voice. He was calling me. And he said : “Merci” – Thank you – before hanging up.

I had to stop walking. It was his farewell, to his son, probably pronounced during an instant of lucidity. He died a few months later.


Thanks for reading!



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