ALZHEIMER’S “THIS DISEASE IS ONLY PART OF WHO I AM!”
At first glance one is not sure what to make of this book written by Rhoda Cohen, a woman born in 1933, who married the love of her life David in 1955 and proceeded to have three children over a very short span of time.
After raising her children she went back to school where she completed a Masters Degree in education graduating in 1980.
At the age of 50, Rhoda was accepted for psychoanalitic training an continue her practicing until 2000 when she retired due to being diagnosed with Alzheimers disease.
Her love and talent for art and poetry made her next calling in life a natural. Rhoda now is the main spokesperson for an Intergenerational Program, involving elementary school children developed by Alzheimers Groupe Inc. in Montreal.
Rhoda visits the schools and interacts with the students helping educate and sensitize them about the disease. Her love for what she does and for the children themselves has resulted in a very rewarding exchange and continued interaction long after the school bell rings.
For those of you who do not know, this talented vivacious woman is also my mother in law. It is very exciting to watch her grow and find new focus while being faced with such adversity to what her life was before. I am so in awe of this woman, her courage and drive to document her experiences on her journey and to plow through barriers that others would never try to overcome. The dedication and concentration it took to complete this project is something that we take for granted when are memory is intact. It only once again shows the inner strength and confidence of Rhoda and her deep wish to share and educate others.
This photo was taken at the official book launch held at the offices of AGI. Rhoda took the opportunity to share her life and poetry with people who came out to support her and the AGI program and signed copies for each and every guest.
Rhoda gravitates naturally to children everywhere she goes thus winning the hearts of all who come in contact with her. Great pride is taken when she has finished visiting a school and the emails from her students start to pour in. Never does it fail to be sitting in her living room where with great love she will read us a letter a child has written. It is a true indication that her intentions and motives are well received. This book or poetry was written for them.
I close by sharing with you Rhodas words and my personal favorite poem.
The Beauty of the World
Life can be great in many different ways
the pleasures we feel and the things that we do
May not be remembered but the experience we share
is just as wonderful even though in a couple of days its not there
I am looked at with blank stares from those who dont understand
That this disease is only a part of who I am
A part of me is lost and I do care
But I am thankful for family and friends and the times that we share
This illness has in so many ways slowed me down
But I have found the beauty and wisdom of all thats around
I have time to wonder and be grateful for life
And enjoy many roles as mother, grandmother and wife
Being with you and playing adds laughter and pleasure each day
And I love to listen to what you have to say
I may not remember what we do and what we say
But all those memories come back to me, and I that is what I take away