Mum said this to me a few months before she died and as you can tell, it struck a chord. It came to mind again last week when I had the privilege to meet Morella Kayman, one of the founders of Alzheimer’s Society in 1979. Morella was the guest of the Society’s fundraising conference and I was lucky enough to be invited along to interview her on stage.
Morella’s life certainly hasn’t followed the course she might have wished for. Twice widowed, her first husband Lawrence was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while only in his forties. Morella herself was only in her thirties and the diagnosis came after ten year of trying to get some explanation for Lawrence’s condition.
Her story could be described as sad or tragic and yet, speaking to her, those two words were far from my mind. Instead, it’s inspiring, sad at times of course but filled with love and hope. She remembers the bad times but talks about leaving a lot of space in her life for happy memories. Not a bad strategy if you ask me.
I and many thousands of people owe Morella and her fellow Society founders a great debt. When Mum was diagnosed, my sister and I were floundering. Effectively sent away for six months by the medical specialists, Alzheimer’s Society filled the gap, providing support and answers to some of our questions.
So, no, Mum’s life, Morella’s life and the lives of so many more weren’t supposed to turn out the way they have. But that is only a part of the story.