Alzheimer’s Viewed Through a Loving Lens
When Judith Fox and Ed Ackell married in 1995 they cut quite the figure as a power couple. Judith was the owner of a successful staffing company and well known in art circles for her fine art photography. Ed was an accomplished physician, pilot, and university president. But after just three years of marriage, the couple was dealt a crushing blow when Ed was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. At first they lived in denial, with Ed reluctant to tell anyone out of fear that people would treat him differently. But as Judith watched his memory fade, and began to see the man she loved slowly slip away, she reached for her camera to document the moments they still had together. When she began to take the photos, the idea of a book had not entered her mind. As she told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the pictures were her way “to celebrate Ed and remember him.” I Still Do: Loving and Living with Alzheimer’s (PowerHouse Books, 128pgs) is a compilation of Judith’s precious moments with Ed. The stunning photographs of her husband’s daily life, accompanied with her poetic text, form a visual love letter to him.
Judith decided to share these private moments in an effort to put a more human face on the crippling disease and provide comfort to those affected by Alzheimer’s. It is her hope that families, caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients find inspiration in the book’s intimate images and prose. Ed will turn 84 this month, and Judith recently made the difficult decision to move him to a residential-care facility near their home in Southern California. The disease has forced their lives down a rocky detour, but what sustains them both is their undying love for one another. “He never forgets that he loves me,” Judith writes, “and that I love him.”