Oh, dammit, this was a good story.
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Alzheimer's stories. I've lost a couple grandparents to it, and I don't think there's anything that terrifies me more in the world (at least nothing that is actually likely to happen to me) than going through Alzheimer's. This story was inherently hopeful in that THERE IS A TREATMENT. Alzheimer's, in this world, is not an end-state. It is a condition that can now be treated, and hopefully in the future people will be able to be treated before they've lost all those memories. And even for this guy, it's amazing that he's now still got a chance to be mentally healthy even if he has lost so damned much.
But of course the tragedy of it is that... the person that he was is dead. He is not that person revived, he is a new person, sort of born from the chrysalis of the person he used to be--not better or worse, but very different. We are defined in large part by our memories of our past experiences. If you strip that away you'll be very different, and the constant pressure for him to try to pretend to be the same person was horrifying to me. Imagine if everyone insisted that the only way the world would be right is if you constantly pretended to be someone else--(there are plenty of real life parallels to this! Which just makes it more powerful. i.e. keeping yourself in the closet because your family might not accept that you are gay, etc)
I was SO RELIEVED when he laid everything out for his wife and she responded in such a positive way. She could have insisted that he keep on pretending, acted like his feeling that he was a different person was just a mental defect, a side effect of the treatment that in itself needed to be treated. She could have left him, on the grounds that he wasn't the man she knew anymore. But instead, she took a huge step in the only direction I could see them being happy together--to treat this like what it is, a new beginning, and work accordingly. And, though I would be hard pressed to say that losing most of your memories could ever be a GOOD thing, maybe in this case it has some positive aspect in making them both refresh their effort and interest in their relationship because it is new and fresh and so can have the revivifying effect of new love! Old love has its own strengths, but it can be easy to take it for granted--you know everything about the other person and there is so rarely anything new to learn, but now they are not the same people--it is new love and they are starting afresh.
And maybe it won't work out, maybe the people they are now are not compatible. But that's okay. They are taking steps to give it an honest try, and if they end up breaking up then it would still be better than them basing the rest of their lives together on a false pretense, and is also IMO better than just giving up without doing the work to try it out first.
I wish them the best, I hope the rest of his family gives him the same chance that his wife is giving him--i.e. to treat him like a NEW member of the family and forge a NEW relationship with him instead of insisting that their relationship be based on their memories. There will understandably be mourning over the loss of the man that he was, and I think that's okay, loss is loss and loss of the loved one you knew is a thing to mourn for. But I also hope that they can temper that with celebration over this new member of their family who they are just getting to know.
Beautiful and thoughtful post, Unblinking. Thank you for taking the time to share.