J: Merriam-Webster defines purgatory as "a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven. Also known as limbo."
Yesterday E and I were walking with our dad at the track and lamenting to each other what complete slobs our kids are and how we would be happy if they had even a modicum of respect for general house rules. Our dad was trying to weigh in with his thoughts so we asked him "Dad, what would make you happy?" He stared blankly at us as if we had asked him the question in Spanish. So we asked again "Dad, what could we do for you to make you happy?" Again, nothing. He wanted to say something, but he was in limbo.
Truly, AD is purgatory. Patients are living, but not really alive. Occasionally they express emotions, but generally they lack affect. They go through the motions of each day without any emotion. For me, this is the saddest part of the disease. The zest, the 'joie de vivre' is eviscerated. What's left is the shell of the person, and the eyes that stare back from that shell are lifeless.
When we were we were kids and we had to endure anything unpleasant, our mom would encourage us to "offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory". So as you go through your day and you encounter anything unpleasant, please offer a prayer for the poor souls on earth living in the purgatory that is Alzheimer's disease.