Alzheimer’s disease is a mysterious illness, which according to Alzheimer’s Association affects approximately 5.4 million Americans. This illness is associated with the later stages of life and is why Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in this country. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. This condition is degenerative and ultimately leads loss of control of body functions. Alzheimer’s disease is an exhausting ordeal for anyone with the demanding responsibility of supporting the afflicted individual. The resources of caretakers are stretched to the limit both emotionally and financially. What’s most difficult for the caretakers is the lack of control they experience. There is relatively little medical information available to explain this puzzling illness. The indefinable nature of Alzheimer’s disease is a force to be reckoned with. To the metaphysical philosopher and spiritualist, Alzheimer’s disease is not so mysterious and frightening. This illness represents an extraordinary period of inner exploration for the affected individual. Many of us have witnessed a person in the later stages of the disease. It seems as if their awareness has left them. It’s like the light is on but no one’s home. That statement is exactly true. I saw this for myself while volunteering for a hospice organization some years ago. The patients seemed lifeless. Their mannerisms were mechanical and without intent.
A person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease holds the distinctive blank expression as a result of limited consciousness. People have a tendency to let go of this reality in order to explore other worlds. Though the person’s mind does not seem to be present, there is significant activity taking place on other levels. At the onset of this illness, the individual begins to slowly focus on other spheres of existence. Their attention is drawn to a separate reality. The secret door to universal knowledge is literally open wide to the seeker.
I call this phenomenon -straddling.- Straddling is the act of splitting one’s consciousness between two realities. These two worlds are the known universe and the hidden universe. Alzheimer’s disease brings with it a period of significant learning. I avoid using the word suffering, since the family endures the pain. Straddling is an opportunity for the affected individual and clears the way for a comparatively smooth transition.
This is a metaphysical explanation for a frightening disease. Knowledge brings understanding to those who choose to accept it. In some cases, understanding brings relief. The truth of this disease allows family and friends to experience peace. I hope this article will be of help to those family members and close friends grieving a loved one given over to the Alzheimer’s journey.