At the UN headquarters in New York, there is this picture. It draws you to numbness. Can a picture tell a story this powerful? Yes it does. This masterpiece from the award winning Argentine photographer Alejandro Kirchuk takes you deep down the perils of the wrecked disease Alzhemeirs. His full creations in the series titled “Never let you go” is archived online here.
Alzheimer’s disease is a very very complicated desease. One may ask, how about AIDS and cancer? They are dangerous too, but one thing which makes Alzheimer all the more different is its impact on the emotional and physical drain on the caretaker. At the later stage of this illness, the patient in the scene is devoid of any memory; He or she lose the sense of surroundings and at times fail to relate the partner for years and now serving as the caretaker.
Think of this. You suddenly arrive at a stage where you don’t even make sense of the surroundings, the loved one besides you? Your past is erased completely. Having to depend on others for even routine acts! How terrible a stage that can that be? Now think of the lucky patients who have the loved ones to take care of them. Think of those caretakers, who in majority are elderly people themselves struggling to cope with old age. The caretakers often ends up doing pretty much have to do a baby care like support to the patient, yet the patient have no real sense of her/his association to the helping person.
I have seen some cases like this and I can understand the pains. Couple of Alzheimer cases had come across in my childhood, my neighbors etc. That time, I never had realized the name or its complexity, but this series of Kirchuk portraits took me back several years and I now relate how hard it must have been for the parties in my memory.
See one of Kirchuk’s portrait on Marcos. Marcos wordings goes like this “Tell me where she is going to be better than here. I treat her like a princess, here she has everything.” Sweet, isn’t it?, It takes our senses to numbness. It is not fiction. Thousands of people around the world, and some in our vicinity goes through this. Only the privileged few escapes from such difficulties! Life is priceless, isn’t it?