Another Sense of Loss, in Memory of My Father

Today in our ongoing Look Back at Wednesday, the designer Kelsey Gauvin shared the poignant story of her father, Robert, who committed suicide after years of living with a dementia-like disease.

“I remember sitting next to him in the basement the day before he died. His walker was not able to go all the way to the end of the floor. It was only straight down. I kept stopping and turning him around. I tried to keep him still. He lay still and silent as if he’d lost complete control of himself. Then something just didn’t feel right. It was the first time in my life I’d seen a death be delayed. And I knew my dad had made it this far, all by himself.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, will be the cause of death for an estimated 5.4 million Americans in 2017. This astonishing statistic is not for the faint of heart. Alzheimer’s affects the mind far differently than any other disease, and often takes a devastating toll on the sufferer’s loved ones.

The disease has been tragically linked to heart problems and cardiovascular disease, which ultimately claimed the life of Kelsey’s father, Robert, this September. Though we hope the good news is good for all of us, the indisputable fact is that finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most challenging and important challenges in modern medicine.

— Nick Scolnik

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