Coming Out as Mortal
This website consists of a series of autobiographical essays that I hope will build to a book about me having been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. I am writing the essays in great part for myself—as has always been the case, writing about the issue is one of my best coping skills when faced with a daunting situation — hence my story collection Blessings on the Sheep Dog. The stories deal with how one reinvents yourself when you bring your old self into a very unfamiliar situation. How does one shift from being a South African to being an immigrant to being an American. Who are you after a major life change? How does the expansion of yourself into Before and After change your sense of self?
The same kind of questions of course arises when one anticipates an involuntary transformation under the regime of a mental or physical condition that unfolds whether you give it permission or not. Peter and I faced the same kind of identity-morphing issues at many turning points of our lives, all of them throws of the dice that structure and unstructure everything, be it mineral, vegetable, or animal. We rejoice in those that continue to spritz us with joy and expand our lives through friendship bonds as thick as blood, through our children marrying and having children, through our friends and family and their children choosing to have us as important people in their lives. At those times when we are doused with vinegar, we look to you, our friends and family, to help us grapple with the situation in the best possible way. Accordingly, Peter made me this lovely website so that I may share my thoughts with you and in turn partake of your wisdom.
©Gerda Saunders 2012
It is illegal to reproduce any part or parts of this work in any form without Gerda’s permission. Please let me know if you'd like to share this with a friend, and I will invite them to the website.