Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Life imitates art for Sandra Day O'Connor

It turns out that it's not uncommon for advanced Alzheimer's patients to forget their spouses and fall in love with someone else -- often someone who is a familiar presence in the treatment facility where they are staying. That was the subject of the Julie Christie movie last spring, "Away from Her," a film that was based on an Alice Munro short story in The New Yorker. Now USA Today reports that the husband of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has fallen in love with someone he met in his Alzheimer's facility, and that his family, including Justice O'Connor, is happy for him.
Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's husband, who suffers from Alzheimer's, has found a new romance, and his happiness is a relief to his wife, an Arizona TV report reveals.

[...]

Offering a glimpse into the private life of a woman who has remained on the public stage since her Supreme Court retirement in 2006 to care for her husband, the report spotlighted John O'Connor, 77. He and the woman, referred to only as "Kay," live at a Phoenix facility for people with Alzheimer's.

"Mom was thrilled that Dad was relaxed and happy and comfortable living here and wasn't complaining," Scott, 50, told KPNX-Channel 12 in Phoenix in a story that aired Thursday.
Munro's story, "The Bear Came over the Mountain," was published eight years ago and is once again on their website. It provides a powerful, dark and poignant look at the depths of love and loss experienced by Alzheimer's victims, their spouses and their families.

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