first cousin once removed
The contrasting comfort and horror of losing your memory, to know and not know at once, is the inherent reality of Alzheimer's Disease. If you are to experience it, you are afforded the relief in allowing yourself to forget your weaknesses, faults, and mistakes, but that is paired against the absolute threat of not knowing the person before you in the mirror, next to you at your house, or staring at you from a collection of photos on your mantel.
Easily one of the most stressful and toughest jobs we have in this country is that of a public defender. With huge caseloads, little pay, and people’s lives on the line, it’s not a glamorous profession. You won’t see a public defender driving a nice sports car, or having billboards with their face plastered on them, but their role in our criminal justice system is much more noble, essential, and under-appreciated than any other. The toughest place to be a public defender is the American South, and that just so happens to be where Dawn Porter’s documentary Gideon’s Army takes place.
There’s just something utterly captivating about hearing someone who’s nearly one hundred years young talk about life. Not just to talk about what they’ve seen or what parts of history they recall the most but just about living, about making a difference, about taking a stand. The tagline for Mel Gibson’s Braveheart was “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”