As a rule, I don’t watch horror movies. I haven’t seen World War Z, Warm Bodies or the Walking Dead. I confess that I saw Zombieland – but as a comedy that didn't really count.
As I understand it, zombies are created by some virus or other epidemic that affects the minds of innocent people, transforming them into destructive creatures, that while imprisoned in their own bodies act as destructive parasites that feed on brains, infecting the rest of society and ultimately bringing humanity as we know it to a crashing halt.
While the parallels aren't perfect, today we face our own zombie apocalypse. Across the world, millions of people are afflicted with a vicious and unstoppable disease that is robbing of them of their humanity and tearing out the hearts and souls of those who love them.
Of course I speak of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In my family, two formerly robust and thoughtful people have been progressively robbed of their faculties. They drift away from us slowly, at first forgetting little things and ultimately becoming disconnected from their ability to think, communicate and attend to their basic functions. With some people, their bodies continue to age normally – while their minds wither away and their very humanity, it seems, slips away.
Today we have no answer for this plague. We don’t know what causes it, can’t adequately predict or prevent it and certainly can’t stop it. There is no Brad Pitt in sight to save the day. Doctors and researchers work tirelessly to fight the good fight – but for so many the battle is being lost.
I have no pithy conclusion for this short missive. It could evolve into a fundraising pitch for the Alzheimer’s Association. But I will leave it at this…