Carolyn Phelps, Ph.D

December 15, 2014

Love  prevails. For richer or poorer. For better and worse. In sickness and in health. Love prevails. Or at least it ought to. It should be our goal. At the end of the day, at the end of every day, to borrow from the Beatles, “All we got is love.” My email has been blowing up since Sue Lien appeared last week to share her story of her journey with her husband Dan through his younger onset Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s been  blowing up with people letting me know how moved they were by Sue and her story. She touched a boat load of people because of her ability to speak honestly from her heart. Everyone’s favorite moment? “…because he was my guy. He’s still my guy.” In the face of this tragedy, around a topic that some people promised me that they wouldn’t watch because “it’s too sad,” Sue Lien delivered her message of hope. That through the tragedy of Dan’s illness and all the losses that entails, including not being able to recognize who she was at times; through all that, he was still her guy. And remains so. Her message was that we can choose love in the most dire of circumstances, and love will see us through. Love will prevail. We may not always be in charge of what happens to us or the people we love, but we ARE always in charge of our heart. And we can choose, as Celine Dion sings, the power of love. That is a message I can embrace. And frankly, we’d all be better off if more of us were focusing on love. Granted, it is often easier to focus on the anger and resentment, the fear and worry, the sadness and despair; because life throws all of us some doozies. And if you haven’t gotten yours yet, you will.  Because as special as we all are, not one of us is so special that the Universe will spare us from all tragedy. If we have been practicing love and compassion, when those doozies hit us, the love will be there to buoy us. To lift us up and sustain us.  Because love can prevail. 

Here are some answers to questions we didn’t get to because I wanted to make sure that you heard Sue’s message of hope (it’s all about the love.)

Yes. Alzheimer’s has a genetic component to it and some strains have more than other’s. Just like every other disease. It is not, however like Huntington’s Chorea where the transmission rate is 50%. Do what you know are the healthy things and live a good rich life. Remember before any disease gets us, we are only ever guaranteed this moment. Make the most of it.

Want to delay dementia? Eat right. Sleep enough. Exercise often. Love and be happy. Some studies say that keeping your brain active by learning new things is good for your brain. It also makes you an interesting person that people want to be around and social connectedness is huge for happiness and health.

One viewer asked “What if you’re single?” Well, there were a lot of single people  who became ill and died during the height of the AIDS crisis in America. And the people who rallied around them. Being single is not the same as being alone. We are in charge of our connectedness. Connect with people. It will save your life by making your life meaningful. Because love prevails.

This week we zoom back to the other end of the spectrum, talking about infant and toddler mental health. And their families, of course. See ya Thursday at 7:30 on WDSE/WRPT.

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