I have just finished watching the movie Still Alice and after crying literally through the whole thing I felt I needed to write a blog post about it. Although Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease every part of her story I could relate to. Alice realises something is wrong when she begins to forget very important things such as getting lost on her daily run and forgetting what she was talking about in one her lectures. So she goes to the doctors thinking it might be a brain tumour and was shocked to discover a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's was what was stealing her memory.
This wasn't the only discovery she made though, after further tests her neurologist discovers that it is a familial form of Alzheimer's. Therefore her three children had a 50/50 chance of being a carrier and if they were positive, a 100% chance of developing symptoms. One of her daughter's Anna had been trying to start a family with IUI. Two of Alice's children tested, her son was negative but her daughter Anna was positive. Her other daughter chose not to get tested.
By this time I was completely undone with crying and it brought back a lot of memories of when I got diagnosed with Huntington's disease. Alice's character reminded me a lot of myself before my diagnosis and it runs completely parallel with the journey God has been taking me on. This quote particularly made me smile:
"But on my bad days, I feel like I can’t find myself. I’ve always been so defined by my intellect, my language, my articulation and now sometimes I can see the words hanging in front of me and I can’t reach them and I don’t know who I am and I don’t know what I’m going to lose next"I always used to define myself by my articulation and my intellect but God's been showing me more and more how that had just become another wall to my true self within. I thought it made me who I am but it just became a barrier to who I really was.
Later on in the movie Alice makes a speech to the Alzheimer's society. She begins her speech by saying;
"The poet Elizabeth Bishoponce wrote: 'the Art of Losing isn't hard to master: so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.' I'm not a poet, I am a person living with Early Onset Alzheimer's, and as that person I find myself learning the art of losing every day".
Again I find it easy to relate to this as through this diagnosis in becoming broken God has been showing me to let go of so many things in my life. I am learning more and more there is beauty in brokenness. I didn't like being broken, I kept wanting to go back to the person I used to be. So I did everything I could to cover up the brokenness and hid all the cracks but God doesn't want that! He wants me as I am! So I find myself daily learning the art of letting go. It doesn't seem to make sense but in letting go I become whole. It is the complete opposite of what we are all trying to do.We think we are losing not gaining. We all want to advance, to progress, to move forward!
“My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment!"
This movie truly captured my heart and allowed me to see another part of myself that I had been longing for. Sometimes I fight so hard to forget about my diagnosis, other times I believe that I should be focusing entirely on being healed but in both ways I always feel like I am clinging on so tightly, either in shutting my eyes to it, or believing it will be gone entirely. Yet perhaps God wants something even greater than that for me- perhaps He wants me to let go...