It’s easy to get caught up in engagements and wedding planning.
It’s easy to make your wedding the focus of every thought.
The fact is that we fall in love for reasons unknown, but we choose to get married because we are certain that the love we share with our partner is something that will carry us through until the end.
In this brief documentary titled A Marriage to Remember by filmmaker Banker White, he trails the progression of his mother’s experiences with her Alzheimer’s disease and the effect that it has on her relationship with her husband.
Aside from her unique upbringing as the daughter of a hotelier, Pam White led a very normal life. As a child she grew up in her father’s hotel; as an adult she became an actress and a model.
During the Vietnam War, she met her future husband.
Ed was in his senior year of college when he was drafted into the military. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he opted to join the Navy as an officer. Despite the war, Ed knew he wanted to propose to Pam; so he did.
Together Pam and Ed continued to lead a very normal life. His Naval career was successful, and together they raised three children.
But in Pam’s words: “there’s one glitch”. 40 years after they married, Pam was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“I don’t feel sad, and I don’t feel regret. I feel blessed that I have the wonderful family and a husband who is extraordinarily wonderful.”
As her mind slowly deteriorates, it’s easy to see the effect that Pam’s disease has on her marriage and relationship with Ed.
“Watching the person that you love so much who has been so much a part of your life… it’s nice she smiles when she sees me. Thank god for her smile” Ed says. There are beautiful moments in their time together. But like all parts of life, there is struggle. “Her walk is now a shuffle… Don’t ever let her know you’re impatient. I’m sure there’s several times a week where she knows I’m impatient with her. And she knows it. You know she knows it. And of course I feel terrible when that happens.”
Pam and Ed’s heart wrenching story is a beautiful (albeit terribly sad) reminder of just what marriage is about.
“Every time I see her I tell her I love her… I tell her what a great life we’ve had together… I know she’d love to be that person. I know that… I have made a commitment to this beautiful woman that I will live with her forever. So whatever happens, we’re definitely doing it together.”