Jim and I were study partners in November; the text was the cherubim at both ends of the tabernacle that God asked the people of Israel to create for him. We said the facing angels meant that relationships were our most important connections. Jim shared his regret that he was often too hard on his kids. He decided to ease up and enjoy his family more. Marrying a secular Israeli was difficult for him. On Thursday, after a gun and blood were found in his house, his car with all five bodies charred beyond recognition was found in the desert.
The whole story may never be known, but it seems that Jim had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. My condolences and those of the whole community go out to their extended family; such a loss is not understandable. Unless one accepts that brain illness can change the ones we love from the logical thinking, law-abiding people they once were and they become unrecognizable strangers whose behavior is as unpredictable as it is paranoid, psychotic and even violent.
As those of you who have read my book Put That Knife Away-Alzheimer's, Marriage and My Transformation from Wife to Caregiver know, my husband's personality changed dramatically during his decline from Alzheimer's disease. Those with Lewy-Bodies dementia which often accompanies Parkinson's disease often experience paranoia, delusions and psychotic behavior as well. Others lose their inhibition and say or do whatever comes into their heads.
Let us try to accept this tragedy as the result of a brain tumor which destroyed a good man's ability to judge his life accurately and drove him to the commission of these terrible, sad acts.