You know how you get surprised when opening a wrapped gift? The gift I "opened" one afternoon was a Hallmark movie entitled "Pictures of Hollis Woods". It wasn't a gift in the literal sense of the word; it was a band aid to my emotional self.
It started out innocently enough. As I began to watch the movie, I thought it would be a typical "chick flick". But, I was wrong. As I watched Sissy Spacek portray an aging woman, I began to see myself in her. At first, it was just her forgetfulness. Then, it was her lack of common sense at the grocery store. And finally, she was up in the middle of the night rearranging the furniture...
As I watched her deterioration, I began to cry. That will be me, I thought. That IS me! A strong, intelligent woman reduced to a mumbling, bumbling ghost of herself. I don't want to be like this. I don't want to be like her. If I had been thinking on a more rational level, I would have realized that I was watching someone portraying a woman with Alzheimer's. I have vascular dementia, which travels a similar course as Alzheimer's, but doesn't progress as quickly. At the time I was watching the movie, though, I was so taken aback that I was operating on a more emotional level.
By the end of the movie, I was crying, happy about the ending. And, I was crying from self-pity. Shortly after, I began to cry again when I told my husband about the movie and how I felt about having dementia. He held me closely and told me that all would be okay, that we needed to take it one day at a time - that he loved me and would take care of me no matter what.
And, once again, I cried. This time in relief. This time because I am so loved, and NOT because I have dementia.
"Pictures of Hollis Woods". I strongly recommend that anyone dealing at any level with Alzheimer's or dementia should see it. I myself want to buy the movie. I have tried to find it at Hallmark stores, but have not located a copy of it yet.
In conclusion, what started out as an afternoon watching a "chick flick" ended up being a time of reflection and of strong emotional outpouring of my fears and sadness over having dementia. What a surprise!
Published On: December 19, 2007