Alzheimer's and love

I gave a talk last week at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. The topic was "is happiness necessary?" Before my presentation I was asked to have dinner with several church members had someone home where I was approached by an elderly gentleman and his wife. The man looked to be in his mid-80s and his wife appeared 10 years younger. Clearly there was something cognitively amiss with his wife as she immediately began to touch, almost caress my face and say "you look like such a nice person". She then picked up my necktie and commented about how pretty it was. Not knowing how impaired she was, I said that it was from the Boys and Girls Club. She gave me a warm maternal smile and said "that's so nice. You have somewhere to go after school." At which point her husband told me she had Alzheimer's.

During my speech they sat near the front row so I could see that she was in understanding much of what I had to say. But when I finished, she was one of the first people to come to the stage. With tears in her eyes she said to me: "yes, it is about love. Everything that is important is about love" and then we hugged.

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