65: The Soft Side of Alzheimer’s

65: The Soft Side of Alzheimer’s

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

The Soft Side of Alzheimer’s

Humor is just another defense against the universe.

~Mel Brooks

I have been blessed by having had a wonderfully loving and generous mother-in-law, Fran. Fran has always loved people, cooking and partying, but has always disliked cats.

One day, when we had taken Fran back to her mobile home, she opened the door and a small cat darted from under the front steps and ran inside. Fran began chasing and screaming at the cat, frightening the poor thing half to death! I was finally able to convince Fran to shut herself into the bedroom at the other end of the home while I coaxed the cat out of hiding and got it outside.

Several years later, after Fran had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I had a shock when I brought Fran to visit a friend of mine one afternoon. I knew my friend had a cat, but the cat generally hid when company came over, so I didn’t worry too much about it. While we were sitting in the living room, the cat, a large Maine coon, came out of the bedroom and walked directly over to Fran, rubbing itself against Fran’s legs.

I held my breath, waiting for her to scream. Instead, Fran bent over, patted the cat and said, “What a nice dog.” That day, Alzheimer’s was Fran’s friend, saving her from what might have been a very unpleasant visit.

~Tamera Leland

More stories from our partners