Desmond O’Grady is a Jesuit priest who served in many prominent positions throughout Ireland. He was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He shares what living with the disease has taught him and how it has changed the way he lives life.
There may well come a time, the one I dread, you know, when I won’t know you’re Pat. I won’t recognize that I’ve met you before. And that, I know, with my sister, not know, that to me…I just so love being with people and doing things with people and I’ve been uplifted by people, that the thought that all that could be gone, that brings, as you can see, tears to my eyes. Yeah, I suppose I could say I trust in God, and that is true, but there is also with me just a sense of, ‘Live the life you’ve got,’ and I will live it as best I can as long as I’m given the life to live. And I’ve lived through difficulties, as I was telling you about my childhood experiences. Alzheimer’s dementia now. Failure in work at various things. I’ve set out on a few projects and then said, ‘I’m not up to this.’ Failures in relationships. And they’re all sad and hurtful, but there’s much more to life than all of those. A lot of these, certainly, relationship failures we’ve mended. They’re the ones I want to mend. I don’t like it go away. And even where I can’t mend it with the other person, I mend it in myself. I know I just keep wishing them well.