Contributions: Atman Journal
At Giuseppina’s every mirroring surface is covered. She is gradually becoming alien to herself. Alzheimer’s creates a false perception of one’s image.
Giuseppina is 90 years old, she has two daughters: Maria and Mimma and 4 nieces Giuseppe, Erica, Ilenia and Ludovica. Her husband died more than 10 years ago because of cancer disease. She lives in a small medieval village in Sicily called Petralia Sottana with no more than 3000 inhabitants.
This misperception causes the incurrence of a sort of senile dementia, the mirrored image looks therefore real and it hurts.
Giuseppina’s archaic memory crumbles into her present, generating a continuous feeling of fear. Control becomes hard under those circumstances. This is why she develops a maniac attachment to objects: clothes may thus be humans, and also photos or the television. She could talk to them for minutes and think about them as real.
I spent some time with Giuseppina and her family, and I found out there is a common ground behind memory, the safe space that makes her catch a sense of family, whether unconscious. I witnessed this space while looking at the interactions Giuseppina has with her daughters and nieces. They help her building a strong collective memory, although it is not the same as it was.