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‘The clouds cleared’: what terminal lucidity teaches us about life, death and dementia – The Guardian

Just before Alex Godfrey’s grandmother died from dementia, she snapped back to lucidity and regaled him with stories of her youth. Could moments like this teach…



It was the red jelly that did it. It was Christmas 1999 in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Ward Porterfield, 83, was in a nursing home. He had been diagnosed with dementia three years earlier; he was confused and disoriented and eventually he no longer recognised his daughter, Kay. When I went in, she says of her later visits, he didnt know me at all. That Christmas, he refused to eat. Finally I just told them: Bring him jello, he likes jello. Red jello. And he looked at me, really deeply, and said:…

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