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The 'Lingering' Death

In my life I've attended many funerals but the death that I find most unavoidable is the 'lingering death' of Alzheimer's.  Insidious and patient, it creeps over its victims little by little, reducing them to little more than the mentality of a small child.  To those around them, myself included, to care for this adult 'child' is agonizing, sorrowful and painful; challenging yet fustrating in the extreme since I've known my mother-in-law for decades now and a more caring, wonderful woman I couldn't hope but meet.  Before Alzheimer's she was caring, compassionate, a teacher who taught other peoples' children how to read, write and even do math; now she has to be reminded what meal she's eating and what she's eating on a constant basis.  It's this 'lingering death' that I find unavoidable since my father-in-law had it as well before he died, a man with two masters' degrees in math and sciences but reduced to the level of a child because of Alzheimer's.  To me the 'lingering death' is far worse since death itself, in the form of lung cancer from which my husband's best friend died, is a sudden, final thing that, while not prepared for it, you can accept as inevitable.  Alzheimers, 'the lingering death' goes on forever and ever much like taxes with no end appearing in sight until the real death happens.