A Marriage to Remember | Alzheimer’s Disease Documentary | Op-Docs | The New York Times

A Marriage to Remember | Alzheimer’s Disease Documentary | Op-Docs | The New York Times

This is Mom’s video diary. Hey, man. It’s too dirty. Say Tuesday, June 22, 2010. Hi. This is — do I
say “this is who”? You can do whatever you want. This is Pam White. Should I start? Yeah, whenever you want. O.K. Hello. I am Pam White. I am a mother of three children. I will tell you a
little bit about me. I grew up in a hotel. My father owned the hotel. And it was an unusual
way to grow up, but it was a lovely
way to grow up. I was an actress. I did modeling. I live for my family
and my children. And one little glitch is that
I have developed Alzheimer’s. And initially, I was quite
distressed and upset about it. But it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t really
change anything. So I don’t feel sad,
and I don’t feel regret. I feel blessed that I have this
wonderful family, and a husband who is extraordinarily
wonderful. Good morning. Hi. Can I get you up? Why? Because I’m sure you’d
like to have breakfast. Be right there. Can you tell me the story
of when you proposed to Mom? My senior year in college,
the Vietnam War was raging. A lottery was done, and
draft numbers were drawn. My number was 16, which meant
it was 100 percent sure that I would have been drafted. My great-grandfather, my
grandfather, my father were all in the
United States Navy. So I applied to
naval officer school. All the while, I
had been planning on asking your mom to marry me. She is capable of doing less
and less around the house. I probably talked to a woman
from the Alzheimer’s Society two, maybe three times. They think it’s important
I should somehow remain more of a husband by
having a caregiver get her up in the morning,
get her dressed, bathe her, give her
medicine, make her meals. Maybe. So far, so good. I don’t mind doing it. I like being with her. Do you think that you
getting more confused has been hard for Dad? I don’t think he
thinks I’m confused. In that way. Hmm? I said I don’t think he feels
that he is, or feels that I am. Confused. I’m not confused. You think I’m confused? No, maybe that’s a bad word. But you need help
with things that you didn’t used to need help with. Right. Yeah. Do you think that’s
hard for him? Did you notice a change
with Mom from the last trip? No, the change in the
year has been profound. Watching the person
that you love so much, who has been so much
a part of your life, you know. It’s nice she smiles
when she sees me. Thank God for her smile. That’s huge. But there’s a lot more that, you
know, I used to get from her, that she would do
for me, that’s gone. My nickname is Fast
Eddie, and it’s because I tend to just get
things done in a hurry. And Pam’s favorite
question is, where’s Ed? And I can answer
it 100 times a day. Just getting her
out of the house and into the car to go
shopping is a big deal. And her walk is now a
shuffle, not a walk. So it’s just slow, slow, slow. And don’t ever let her
know that you’re impatient, which I’m sure there
are several times a week when she knows that
I’m impatient with her. And she knows it. You can — you
know she knows it. And of course, I feel
terrible when it happens. Yeah. Sometimes, if I’m the first
thing she sees in the morning, I don’t actually think
she recognizes me. That’s beginning. What must it be like? How much does Pam know
about what’s happened, what’s happening and
what will happen to her? Every time I see her,
I hope I hug her. Every time I see her,
I tell her I love her. I tell her how
magnificent her smile is. I tell her what a great
life we’ve had together. And I thank her for
what she’s done for me. She was an incredibly
attentive, loving mother. I know she’d love
to be that person. I know that. I have made a commitment
to this beautiful woman that I will live
with her forever. So whatever happens, we’re
definitely doing it together.

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100 thoughts on “A Marriage to Remember | Alzheimer’s Disease Documentary | Op-Docs | The New York Times

  1. You are a wonderful husband….my mom could never admit she had Alzheimer's and I ignored it for years, not wanting to know and in the end I was the one who suffered the most and the guild I feel does not go away…I should have been passionate and more understanding…I had her come and live with me, had help for her when I went to work (2 jops) , at the time I thought it was enough but today I feel I let her down, she passed away, I think I would have done better……..

  2. Back when marriage vows were taken serious, this man has honoured his wife and has done what he promised her would. For better for worse, in sickness and in health. Bless you

  3. God bless them all…so hard for them all, and very sad. Things like that make you stronger as a family I believe. ❤️❤️😘😘😘💐

  4. Working as a CNA and working with these individuals who were earthier amazing moms, teachers and etc. It’s a lot to take in but you learn so much from being around them and I’m so much appreciative of those around me.

  5. Sorry if this is insensitive I haven’t watched the video yet. But the lady on the thumbnail looks so similar to Roman Atwood’s ( a famous youtuber) wife!!

  6. What a beautiful loving family, especially her husband. I hope he’s found closure and is happy. May she Rest In Peace.
    Alzheimer’s and dementia is harder on the patient’s family at times, seeing your loved ones lose their “selves”. My maternal grandmother toward the end of her life couldn’t remember me, when I saw her and asked her who she thought I was, she said my mothers name. I choked back tears as she looked at me and said my mothers name and smiled. She’s in a good place now ❤️

  7. Such a beautiful touching story about what “till death do us part” truly means. God bless this faithful loving husband. A true rare gem in this generation.

  8. My dad had this disease and dementia. It was hard to see the deterioration but we always made sure we told him we loved him and appreciated everything he did for us. He actually would think that my twin and I was our mum. It was sweet to see the love in his eyes.

  9. My dad has this awful disease and my mother is showing the strength if a true champion right now. Hats off to this lovely couple.

  10. These type of videos help me remember why I love my wife. The small things are not relevant when the prize is your love.

  11. This reminds me so much of that movie “Still Alice” it’s a very emotional movie and didn’t realize how this disease affects so much of the person and people around….

  12. Thank for sharing your family’s story. I am in the first stages of EOAD. I was married for 20 years but he chose not to stay for many reasons but I do have my own apartment now & it is lovely. I live alone with my cat Rosie & my family comes by daily. I do not look forward to the time when I know I won’t be able to live alone & that saddens me but for now I live one day or one hour at a time. This disease forces me to live moment by moment & I kinda like that because it causes me to not have to think & stress about all the days troubles. I can only think in the moment so I do what I can at that time. I know that I have lost the ability to do things I used to do but mostly I don’t remember what they are so I don’t miss them. Your wife is so lucky to have you. Bless your heart sir.

  13. Wow. How incredibly sad & scary. Both of my grandmothers battled this horrible disease. We have to find a preventive cure.

  14. Meanwhile, my grandmother with advanced dementia has been abandoned to a dingy apartment in Baltimore because my wealthy aunt didn't want to take care of her or even have her living in the large townhouse where there was room enough for everyone, including round-the-clock nursing help. The aunt has now moved off to the West Coast, abandoning her mother completely. My father refuses to bring her to a home closer to where he and my mother live. And my protests have fallen on deaf ears. Such is love in my family. It is a terrible and scarring thing to grow up with such a hateful model for living. My family is deeply committed to education, yet the greatest lesson of all was never taught.

  15. Thank you for sharing your experience, love, hope , fath, with us all, your a very gracious too do so, very inspiring.

  16. True fricken love. Oh God the emotions this brought up for me. I'm so moved. I'm so glad Pam and Ed had each other. They are both beautiful people.

  17. God bless you and Pam. I know how hard it is to have a loved one with dimensia my mother passed at 74 years old in 2017 the morning after Mother’s Day. God bless you

  18. I think when you've been together for decades you change in a way that is hard to describe, I have after just one. Somehow you know that the person, even with alzheimers or memory loss, still exist somewhere inside, or at least somewhere in time and that it will always exist and never be lost. You will always "have" each other in a way. It's a gut feeling, I can't explain it any other way. I got the vibe from the husband too, he feels her still, see's her soul somewhere in her eyes. He recognises how she wants to be again, but can't. He knows both of them will leave this world sooner than later, but that their timeline will always exist. He had her as her ruest self, she is a shadow of that woman now, but that vibrant woman still exists in space and time. Maybe there will be another dawn for them.

  19. I have yet to have a husband who was not impatient with me! My 2nd husband gets more impatient as time passes, & he yells & screams at me way worse, than when I first met him! He just doesn't want me talking about anything at all, & tells me to shut up because he doesn't want to hear me!

  20. This is so beautiful!!! I am a caregiver and I see this daily!!! It’s so beautiful to hear this story because most people forget about their spouse put them in memory care and visit once or twice a month.. I love this! Change the narrative!!💙❤️💙❤️💙❤️💙❤️

  21. Thank you for showing this real and true story. I am sorry for your mother diagnosis. I hope one day we will find a cure. God bless you and your family. It was a beautiful video

  22. People debate the generational aspect of why they may have been so devoted to one another, but the fact is love is a great many things and the one thing it is not is selfish. There is no generation only filled with selfless people. There is simply many many lovely and beautiful men and women through out time who have chosen to be selfless and truly act out love to another person even when it's beyond difficult. My husband and I have been together almost nine years and have two children, we have seen our share of moments. Many times when we have faced a terribly difficult point together we tend to say, "Many would walk away right now but I will and do love you too much to do the same." It takes a good deal of work to get through the tough times of differences, hurts and trials of life but we are always so blessed on the other side when we still have our best friends hand to hold and a person we know has and we can believe will always be with us till we die. This couple is so admirable and I hope to leave such an impression on my children as they clearly have.

  23. This was so beautiful and so heartbreaking! I’m thankful this wonderful wife and mother had such loving people to care for her daily. Such a sad disease to watch as their beautiful memories disappear from their minds. This was beautifully and thoughtfully put together.

  24. My mother is 61 & was diagnosed with Dementia about 2 yrs ago. She has no idea who my sister & I are, our children or her husband! I cried throughout seeing the love & dedication he has for Pam. Thank you so much for sharing!

  25. This is just like my dad- devoted to my mom and he is the one person she still always knows and looks for when out of her sight. It is one sweet aspect in an otherwise difficult situation.

  26. Some people just come from heaven in peoples lives and can love and see people through to the end…. Yes even Angels go through the pain…. But the people who are leaving this world need angels to help them pass on…. God bless you Angels….. GOD BLESS YOU….

  27. this made my heart tear I feel so bad 😥 but I’m happy they are still so supportive , loving & patient ❤️ this is so beautiful yet sad and the husband my god 🙌🏾 true meaning in a marriage “ through sickness and in health “ god bless them

  28. My Grandma has had Alzheimer’s for 12 years now, she doesn’t know anyone in her family except her husband of 65 years and even in some moments she forgets him. My grandpa cared for her by himself as long as he could and hired part time care. She has recently been placed in a nursing home and it was extremely hard for my grandfather. He wants nothing else but to be with his wife and lifelong companion.

  29. I would love more than anything a follow up to this. It was too short but maybe that is exactly what life is. It captured my heart.

  30. Great video.. i hiked to raise funds and awareness about Alzheimer’s.. here is a trailer of that V-Log… it was done purely to help those suffering from this …


  31. This small documentary is such a heartbreakingly profound moment of truth. To watch the one person you devoted your life too slip away…..This disease affects everyone who loves her.

  32. My grandpa died a month a ago from on going Alzheimer’s and cancer and this video really made me see how he might of lived before bc I hardly remember how he was before his Alzheimer’s so thank you sm.❤️💓

  33. She was a knockout as a young girl and kept her looks as she got older. Hard for a family to go through. Such a dreadful, soul destroying illness. I hope they find a cure!

  34. Two weeks ago my aunt died from Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband was just the same as this man. She is blessed. They were blessed to have each other. I can’t imagine how hard it was on her husband.

  35. When I was little, my great grandmother got diagnosed with alzheimers. She had gotten married to my great grandpa when she was 18, they'd been together for over 50 years. He stopped taking his medication and hid that from us, and basically killed himself so he wouldn't have to watch her forget the life they had. She progressed rapidly after he died. I always hated hearing her ask when Don (her husband) was coming home. I miss them so much.

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