by Anthony C.: “In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss” by Amy Bloom tells the story of a couple who, when the husband develops Alzheimer’s Disease, seek physician-assisted suicide to end his suffering. With this topic, many people feel strongly enough about the issue to say, “No thanks,” but Bloom gives us details that activate your empathy as you know Bloom’s anguish.
Bloom provides a glimpse of the human experience that has a lot in common with regular, old-fashioned grief. You try to soak in the last moments and want your loved one around for selfish reasons, even though they no longer wish to suffer. The more I read the author in pain, the less my politics interfered or mattered.
Alzheimer’s Disease has touched our lives in some form or another. Bloom reads directly from some of the manuals for caregivers to show precisely how different her reality is from those who try to oversimplify for support. For this reason, it baffles me that anyone would find a flaw in the book since, if anything, it made me value my time on this Earth more and reminded me why I would make a different choice in this situation but still understand Amy’s plight.
Your feelings about this will coincide with your initial reaction to the end of “Million Dollar Baby” for reasons that would spoil a 19-year-old movie for some but will paint an all-too-familiar portrait of emotional trauma. Only the heartless would judge. Every decision at the end of the book causes stress, from the mundane to life and death. The scene at the casino shows how tough it is to rein in a patient with dementia when others encourage you to let them live.
The journey to the end of the book is long and painful, but then again, so is Alzheimer’s. The text may not dispel your opinions, but it will show you that no one can or will enter this decision lightly or quickly. The cost eliminates 75 of the world’s population anyway. Accept this as one of the most honest writings you will encounter this year.