Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome

By Nancy C. Andreasen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
DEMENTIAS
A Death in Life

Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night

And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light. —Dylan Thomas “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”

W ayne adjusts his rearview mirror as he turns onto the highway. His eyes rest briefly on a handkerchief, shoved into the armrest on the door of his old but immaculate Lincoln Towncar.

She was never without a handkerchief, always presentable, confident, content. There was a subtle groove worn into her passenger seat from the many miles of their lives together. Every day she found an adventure. She would lean forward, pouring over the roadmap, plotting a course to the next town with an antique store or the fastest route to the impending graduation, wedding, or birthday. He wasn't much for weddings and the like, and never could figure out the attraction of antiques. But her joy spilled over the driver's side and he would find himself eager to reach the next stop for no other reason than to see her smile, pluck up her handkerchief and bound from the car like a kid on the first day of school.

Don't know when she stopped looking at the map.

A drizzling rain is smearing the windshield. He hits the wipers as he pulls off the road, tears rising in his eyes and smearing his vision of the world even more.

I can't do this, can't do it. I'd rather be visiting her grave. God help me, I AM visiting her grave.

Pearl is 64. She now lives in a nursing home, Fairview Manor, having been moved there by her reluctant husband, Wayne, six months ago.

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