My grandmother, who died four years ago, would have turned 80 on Wednesday. She had dementia, like the mother of this woman interviewed by This American Life. The radio story, which aired last Sunday, wonderfully captures both the humor and heartache that accompany diseases like Alzheimer's. In the story, the woman and her husband use improv techniques to navigate her mother's memory loss. But unlike that matriarch, my grandmother never stopped recognizing her family. When she first saw her brother after he flew to Washington to see her days before her death, she told him that he looked "completely different."
"And that is not a good thing," she said.