The Need For Normalcy

From the London Telegraph
Sunday 24 June 2012
John Suchet builds new life after beloved wife succumbs to Alzheimer’s

“Her eyes light up when she sees me, but I have no idea if she knows who I am,” he said.  “But without diminishing it, or putting her to one side in any way, I am building a life.”

Suchet, 67, who met the love of his life almost 30 years ago when they were both married to other people, was talking about how his new role on the radio had helped him move on.

Before he got the offer he was at his lowest ebb, he said, having given up work to look after his wife only to be forced to put her into a home so she could receive professional care.  Alone and grief stricken, the obsessive Beethoven fan, who has written six books on his hero, was at a loss of what to do with his life when the call came from Classic FM.

He said: “I thought, ‘What shall I do?’ ‘Shall I write another book on Beethoven that three people will read?’ And then, out of the blue, bof!”

“I nearly fell over.  “It could not have come at a better time in my life. I needed to be helped to move on. It’s given me a reason to get up in the morning, it really has.”

He said that presenting the show was a dream come true.  “Suddenly, I’m broadcasting about classical music,” he said.  “It’s as if I have died and gone to heaven.”

He said that the job had helped him come to terms with his wife’s illness and allowed his to move on with other parts of his life.

“I’ve moved house,” he said.  “I’m now a ten-minute bike ride from my brother David [TV’s Hercule Poirot], of whom I now see a lot. And I have a job.

“The two important things are: what would Bon want for me? And secondly, if I give in and wallow, then dementia has another victim, hasn’t it.”

During an interview in 2009 he said that he wished that she had cancer instead of the dementia.  “I cannot believe I’m saying these words but it will give you some idea of how cruel this illness is,” he said.