A few days into the “write31days” challenge, somebody commented on one of my posts: “It is almost like living with Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde as you are never sure what they can help and what they can’t.” This was not a new analogy for me! I often found myself comparing our situation to that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!! Somehow, with her comment, I really felt this person had connected and knew exactly what I was going through!!
But, why use that particular analogy? Well, first we must look at the story of Jekyll and Hyde. According to SparksNotes 1, “Until the end of the novel, the two personas seem nothing alike; and it does appear as if there are TWO persons – one, ‘a well-liked, respectable Dr. Jekyll’; and two, ‘a hideous, depraved Mr. Hyde – totally opposite in type and personality.’ The author, Stevenson, uses this contrast to make a point: ‘every human being contains opposite forces within him or her, an alter ego that hides behind one’s polite façade.’ ”
Hmmm! That is interesting…so, when I compare my husband’s dementia to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I am actually admitting to his “dual personality” – because on the surface he is a likeable, respectable person; yet, lurking inside is that other person that – while maybe not necessarily “hideous or depraved”, is certainly an opposite to the other person.
In the novel, Dr. Jekyll asserts that “man is not truly one, but truly two,” and he imagines the human soul as the battleground for an “angel” and a “fiend”, each struggling for mastery. But his potion, which he hoped would separate and purify each element, succeeds only in bringing the dark side into being – Mr. Hyde emerges, but he has no angelic counterpart. Once unleashed, Mr. Hyde slowly takes over, until Dr. Jekyll ceases to exist. If man is half “angel” and half “fiend”, one wonders what happens to the “angel” at the end of the novel, or in our case, the journey.
And, it leaves ME to wonder what happens to my husband as we continue on this journey with Dementia’s Demands; what will his struggles lead to uncovering in his personality or the disease? I can only wonder and leave what will be in the hands of our Lord!
1 SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” SparkNotes LLC. 2003. To access SparkNotes, click here.