On Tuesday, Boyfriend and I went and saw Still Alice and Birdman (there will be a seperate post for that if I ever work out how I felt about it). Basically, I picked a movie and he picked a movie. Of course both of these movies were on our lists of movies to eventually see, since they had won awards at the Oscars, so I didn’t feel too badly choosing Still Alice, I actually assumed he’d be choosing Birdman.
Alice is a linguistics professor at Columbia. She lives the life she’s always wanted – travelling, learning, teaching, and loving her family. This all changes when she starts to lose little things. She forgets a word. She gets lost on campus. She can’t remember things told to her moments before. In secret, without telling her husband or grown children, she starts to see a neurologist who eventually diagnoses her with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
As someone who is a caregiver in this field, I have some questions as to how they came to the diagnosis. I know diagnostic tools have gotten better, but we still cannot definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s until autopsy.
The rest of the movie is the story of her loss, how she masters the Art of Losing. It’s a story of how her family members cope, both well and not so well.
This part was heartbreaking because not only is Alice losing the memory of her family, but in some ways she really is losing them because they’re pulling away or changing entirely to cope/notcope with Alice’s changes. There was a line in a PinkBerry, where Alice’s husband asks her if she still wants to be here (meaning New York, the house, etc. etc.), she responds: “I’m not done yet. Do we have to go?” In the entire movie there is no line that sums up this disease better. All of the people afflicted have lived lives and none of them deserved to have these lives ripped away from them. The people afflicted have more to give if we let them, they’d have even more to give if their entire lives hadn’t been ripped away from them by the betrayal of their own brains.
Everyone that has this disorder. Everyone. They weren’t done yet. They weren’t ready to go.