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”

  • 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.
    Kimberly

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!!💙❤️💙❤️💙❤️💙❤️

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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….

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 …

    https://youtu.be/v6ZPG4iZD1U

  • 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.

  • 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.❤️💓

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • My kids are napping. My husband is at work. I am thanking God for my health and purest, true love that I share with my husband and children. Your story just touched my heart and will stay with me forever. So will your wife's beautiful smile.

  • So very moving. This level of commitment is what is missing nowadays in society. It is the glue that holds the fabric of life from disintegrating and keeps love alive. My husband and I have been together nearly 50 years. We had wonderful plans for retirement years but life intervened and literally overnight he spiralled into kidney failure without any known cause. Now we spend our days at endless physician appointments, testing, and dialysis clinic. It is not the campouts in the forests and deserts that we envisioned. No enjoying campfires and midnight meteor showers. BUT we are together and will be till one of us must bid the other adieu. For better, for worse, in sickness and in health. I couldn't imagine doing this any other way and am grateful for every moment together that we are being gifted 💕❤️💗💖❣️

  • sometimes youtube recommendation makes some sense.. sometimes. and this story is the highlight of my life so far. i just wish i was born back in the old days where true love does exist

  • I'm sure it's especially difficult, when folks r married, and happily so. They do most everything together, then the partner gets sick. Life can be so jolting, The mind is fragile, and it doesn't come back

  • Thanks for your family share. I am a nurse who has care for children and adults..dying of cancer.. .but taking care of an Alzheimers pt.. is hard even for a nurse…I have done it for about a year. Or so. It was the worst ..so sad for the families.

  • You are making her feel guilty when you make suggestions that her inabilty to do the things she use to do my be putting Stress on your Dad. Ask your Dad those questions. Some people with Alzehima sometimes become Depressed or Sucidal.

  • After being in relationship with Harry for Five years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. but one day I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in love spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster called Okougbo , and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] you can email him or Whats-app on +2349059880331 if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS [email protected] CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

  • Alzheimer's is so so horrific. It robs you of yourself, robs your family of you. She's so incredibly lucky to have a family that loves her so much. Her husband is one in a million.

  • A close relative of mine developed cancer, and her husband cheated on her until her death. She knew this but loved him too much to divorce him or make him leave. She was from the generation that vowed "For better or worse", and this was 'the worse' part. I was a social worker of 10 years, now a writer, but some truth is stranger than fiction.

  • I just found that the son filming this , Banker White, along with his wife did a film on his Mother . The film is "Thee Genius Of Marian."

  • I have been diagnosed with two mental disorders for which I take medications , but I still go on with my life , but if I ever begin to develop that condition , I know nobody will take care of me , nobody .

  • Even though she knows your having impatience moments and she can't change, YOU TOOK THE VOWS AND STAND BY THEM!! HERO!

    Great raw, vulnerable, truthful story. Always have a confidente, understanding, help needs to BE KNOW ITS OK AND ACCEPTED.

  • My great grandmother had Alzheimer's disease and one day she told my grandfather that there was this really nice man at her house all the time but she didn't know him. It was her husband.😭