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The Arsonist
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If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

Created: 07/27/14

Replies: 14

Posted Jul. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 505

Expert

If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

Do you think that Miller describes Alfie fairly, given his cognitive issues? That is, does she make us feel as if Alfie has always been rather weak minded? If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness and about your changed role, from wife to caretaker?


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marianf

Join Date: 07/28/14

Posts: 4

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I would be angry... there was no love lost between them, and now she had to endure the burden of his illness.


Posted Jul. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
nancyl

Join Date: 04/21/14

Posts: 3

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

My husband had Lewy Body. It requires much patience on the part of the caregiver. I went on line and delved into this disease to understand it. Sylvie was not a patient wife and didn't do much to try to understand Alfie's situation.


Posted Jul. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dona

Join Date: 06/03/14

Posts: 6

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I'm sure that I would have a hard time giving up all that seemed rewarding in life such as work and community friendships, yet I hope I would feel less resentment against Alfie for a situation which he could not have avoided.
Upon reflection, it seems to me that Sylvie and Frankie both have a self centered streak. Just as Sylvie resents caring for Alfie, Frankie seems to lack an appreciation for Bud's love and admirable qualities and focuses on how she feels about settling for a less exciting lifestyle. I wonder if she can ever be truly happy.


Posted Jul. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
christinep

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 26

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I could see how Sylvie was resentful. Their whole life had centered on Alfie's needs. They even retired to Pomeroy because that was where he wanted to be. I don't think she was ready to give up her own career just yet. It felt like her life was out of her hands and by moving back to Bowman, she was able to gain back some control as well as get her job back. It also gave her more care options than in Pomeroy.


Posted Jul. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
cynthiad

Join Date: 11/25/12

Posts: 23

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I'm sure I would be disappointed to "lose myself" in becoming a caretaker, "warden" as she said.
It does seem that she felt resentment all their married years that his career took precedence -- but it happens all the time. Look how military people are shuffled from pillow to post.
I dealt with my mom as she became somewhat demented and deaf until she was 96 and do not regret
a moment. Day in & day out it is often tiresome, but the well person can, hopefully, get help to cope.


Posted Aug. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kenanr

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 8

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

Based on the past that we were made aware of - resentful. And then guilty for being resentful. And then angry for being made to feel guilty. And then exhausted physically and emotionally.


Posted Aug. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 29

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

Sylvie was trapped into becoming who she was suppose to be at an early age. She may have done the same to Alfie. She didn't have a support system in place and the memories may have been too much. Drinking too much when the going got tough wasn't any help. Guilt, fear & embarrassment were very evident as she hid Alfie's failing from the girls. moving back to the college town and working was a brilliant decision for both of their lives. Some people are not cut out to be caregivers.


Posted Aug. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dona

Join Date: 06/03/14

Posts: 6

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

Tracyb, I think you are exactly right about Sylvie, but what a tragedy it is when one member of a couple needs care and the partner is not cut out to be a caregiver. It is actually very sad for both of them. And unfortunately neither daughter was able to step in with sustaining help either.


Posted Aug. 11, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
maryj

Join Date: 03/06/12

Posts: 11

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I would struggle with Alfie's illness. I am really not a great caregiver but I am sure I would try my best.


Posted Aug. 11, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
allwright91552

Join Date: 08/11/14

Posts: 4

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

It would be so natural to feel some resentment for all that Sylvie gave up through the years and then when things should be easier the challenge of Alfie's illness comes up. I do think caregivers, even the most loving, go through stages of feeling anger, resentment, and guilt for feeling these "human" feelings. It is one thing when there is a strong foundation of love and you are faced with caring for a spouse and another when you feel imposed upon or frustrated by having to give the care needed.


Posted Aug. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marym

Join Date: 08/13/14

Posts: 5

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I would feel resentful and guilty because of the resenting.


Posted Aug. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynnes

Join Date: 10/17/11

Posts: 4

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I might FEEL overwhelmed at first, but then what I hope I would do is find a good support system, both for Alfie and myself. Don't we all hope that we would treat our loved one the way that we would want to be treated if the circumstances were reversed?


Posted Aug. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 63

Expert

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

I think kenanr and marym hit the nail on the head. And added to those feelings of resentment and guilt would be the fact that she hadn't loved him in the first place. Her solution - leaving Pomeroy and moving back to a larger town and a job - probably did a world of good for both of them.


Posted Aug. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeann

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 42

RE: If you were Sylvie how would feel about Alfie’s illness?

From Frankie's point of view, her Mother had always had negative feelings about her Father's work. And this disdain became clear in the book as Sylvie related how she had always sacrificed what was important to her, always putting Alfie's ambitions first. Now that the girls are grown and they have retired to Pomeroy she is faced with being the caretaker for Alfie, who she says she no longer loves. Under those circumstances, I think it would be a struggle to face the future with the burdens that Alfie and his illness would bring. In Sylvie's defense, I felt she was facing his challenges in a caring and conscientious way.


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