I absolutely love moments of sheer joy and adulation that only sport or music can seem to provide, like the way his appearance at the 2010 UNC alumni game was depicted in the following story: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10545949/precious-memories-dean-smith-story. It’s goes to show how many a two people in a large crowd, totally opposite on other matters, can have a mutual and almost spiritual appreciation for something so basic.
For a person such as he, so widely revered as both humble and larger-than-life, this is not so much a story about his legacy but an effectively, beautifully written account on the sheer power of dementia. He is still here, his heart and its memory is still here. And so he should not be so dramatically perceived or acceptably referred to – understandable as it may be – by his entire ‘family’ in the past tense.
The heart may want to recede into a dark corner after reading this. I feel what makes people instantly tense about the “cruelty” – an accurate term – of this disease is being invariably confronted with their own mortality.
And on the more personal note, reading this compels me to conjure up means to try to bond with my Mom, as she is roughly in the middle stages of dealing with this disease. If/When the time comes that she does not recognize me, I will never allow myself to believe, without in any way stressing her, that she does not know me nor I her.