Alzheimer's Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Dealing with Alzheimer's Disease can have grave consequences for both sufferer and for caregiver. After dealing with his wife's declining condition over time, Mr. Owen Darnell wrote a poignant poem that helps put things in some perspective.
Owen's wife Esther had graduate degrees after studying at Columbia and University of Havana in Cuba. Following her cognitive decline, Mr. Darnell had no choice but to place his wife in a nursing home, much to the chagrin of relatives. Unless you've dealt with a silent killer like Alzheimer's, most folks just don't understand how devastating and debilitating certain forms of dementia can be. Mr. Darnell's tribute allows us to see the disease from the other side…
Do not ask me to remember,
Don’t try to make me understand,
Let me rest and know you’re with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.
I’m confused beyond your concept,
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.
Do not lose your patience with me,
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can’t help the way I’m acting,
Can’t be different though I try.
Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone,
Please don’t fail to stand beside me,
Love me ’til my life is done.
– Owen Darnell
The Orlando Sentinel wrote a lengthy article about Mr. Darnell's Alzheimer's Poem that you can find here: It's called “Alzheimer's Care-giver Shares Pain, Offers Help”. The reporter (Bo Poertner of The Sentinel Staff) noted that Owen Darnell wrote a 26 page booklet called A Room Without Doors to help caregivers understand dealing with loved ones suffering with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. (We couldn't find the booklet, but we'll keep looking.)