Most of us were outraged over Pat Robertson’s words, giving the OK to divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease. However, after thinking it over, maybe we should thank him. He made us think of something that is fairly repugnant and he forced conversation. We have probably had more discussion because of Pat’s ill-fated remarks than we have since Ronald Reagan announced he had been diagnosed with the disease.
What do most of us know about Alzheimers? Does it run in families? Does it hit those in middle age? Are there different types? How many of us knew it was the 6th leading cause of death in the United States? I sure didn’t.
Are there legal reasons for divorce? Will divorce protect the surviving spouse from liquidation of assets if the afflicted spouse has to be institutionalized for care? That’s something to think about. I know several folks who chose to shack up to protect their retirement assets since remarriage would kick them out of the system. Can divorce provide the same safety net?
Finally, people divorce over mental illness and substance abuse all the time. How many of us would chastise a person for divorcing a spouse who was institutionalized because of severe schizophrenia or other chronic mental diseases that seemed hopeless? We are very forgiving about that. How is Alzheimer’s any different?
Maybe we should thank Pat for providing the impetus for discussion. These are definitely discussions that should be taking place. Until Pat shot off his mouth, we just weren’t talking.
“Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John Kennedy” has hit the bookstores and her daughter, Caroline Kennedy is hitting the TV circuit to promote the book. At the same time, Diane Sawyer has shown two episodes of the tapes released from the Jacqueline Kennedy interviews with Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., just 4 months after the Kennedy assassination.
What strikes me the most about Jacqueline Kennedy is how demur she is and how very much she fit into the 50′s mold of the not so modern woman. Her roll as a wife was much closer to my mother’s roll as a wife than I would have imagined. Women in those days very much defined themselves through their husbands and for their husbands. As I watched the Sawyer shows I wanted to spring up through the TV and bellow at Jackie and tell her she was her own person. She was a “stand by your man” kind of woman and it was totally apparent in the interviews.
Jackie became a more independent woman as she aged. She metaphorsized more from a woman who was there to enhance and build up her husband to one who was her own person with her own identity. Caroline Kennedy had the sole responsibility of deciding whether to release the information in the interviews. She decided to release it all. What a gift she has given us with the bird’s eye look into the lives of the two people who redefined the modern presidency in America. Jackie may become better known for her role as national historian than glamorous first lady.
Sgt. Dakota Meyer is the first living marine to receive the Medal of Honor in 38 years. The ceremony was held in the White House. Meyer’s fellow marines and sailors were also honored. Yesterday Meyer had a beer with his Commander in Chief.
Prior to the ceremony, Meyer said he was no hero. America begs to differ. Semper Fi.