Re: True Budo is a Work of Love, Even Down the Rabbit Hole
To Cady and Janet,
Condolences to you and your family members on your loss. I read the obituary and it somehow reminded me of Frank Regan, who also came from your part of the world. I used to train with Frank when I lived in Cambridge and was shocked that he died at a relatively young age.
My mother died of Pick's Disease, which I gather is a rarer form of Alzheimer's. I used to be just a little concerned at the lengthy telephone conversations we used to have (the bills, of course). My mother always had loads of questions about Japan. The summer before she died, things became very odd indeed--she no longer initiated conversations with questions, just responded when I did. Things got worse and my father had to put her in hospital, which was a very bad mistake. The doctor insisted that she was getting better, when all the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. I returned from Japan on extended leave and used to visit her. I brought some work from Japan and would sit and do this while she talked. She became unable to finish any sentence she uttered, since she had forgotten what she had said. But she knew that something was very odd.
This was December 1983 and we brought her home for Christmas. My sister and I organized the social services. After she died (early in January), I threatened to sue the hospital for the quality of care she received and this prompted a very speedy response from the consultant, who told me he suspected Pick's Disease, mainly because of the (thankfully) rapid onset of the illness. Of course, I felt somewhat guilty that I was too far away to play my fair share in the work of looking after her.
There was a distinct personality change, but I never directly experienced the effects of this. She always knew who I was and clearly wanted to talk. I sometimes use the film version of Fitzgerald's The Curious History of Benjamin Button in my culture classes and the poignant ending of the film was a reminder of those abortive conversations nearly 30 years ago.