Why Melanie Walks

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My husband Rod was until recently an academic. He earned his PhD in Comparative Religion, Literature,
and Philosophy in 1973 and taught 83 different courses—not classes, but courses—over the
duration of his career. He served for over two decades as the dean of a university library. His entire
life had been based on his ability to think. In fact, it was he who first diagnosed his own cognitive
decline when he noticed that he could no longer effectively carry on research due to his inability
to hold the content of so much as a single sentence in his mind after reading it—repeatedly. Much of
who we are as human beings is the result of our accumulated memories. Remove our memories,
and we revert eventually to the tabula rasa we were at birth. Alzheimer’s disease, then, gradually
erases an individual’s identity. What more cruel fate can one suffer?"