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February 08, 2012


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There are always, lately, these "significant" discoveries that want to explain Alzheimer's - the things that seem to cause it, potential ways of staving it off. The latest headlines made me laugh: keeping the brain active through life may stave off the dreaded disease." That's like the studies that trumpet shocking truths like: lack of discipline in early years underly anti-social behavior in adults. Or: eating too much causes obesity. The point of that first headline was evidently that you have to start thinking early, and do it consistently over time - like from six years old on. Just starting to do cross word puzzles in your 60s doesn't seem to help much.

I thought about that and the new tau protein research for hours. And realized this: if they do find the real cause, a real cure - if they do erase this thing from the equation the way they took out small pox - about forty percent of what runs in the worry-background of my every day life would suddenly lift. LIke somebody throwing open a window in a stifling room.

But as my husband points out, that would only free up space for the stuff lurking on the sidelines: meteors crashing through the roof. Bears appearing on the riding trail. White sharks. I don't think I will every be comfortable here in mortality. It's just not natural - pain and time and death and the limits of space and time.

I don't want to be your mother, or my mother. I don't want my children having to deal with this. I don't want them to be left with those memories as the fresh ones.

God help us all.

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