Michael and Family

 
Michael Shin was a 49-year-old husband and father of 3 children, Thomas (19), Jaclyn (16) and Erica (12). He met his wife, June, 37 years ago when they were both teenagers and they had their whole lives ahead of them. They followed the "customary" path of getting married, starting a family and buying a house. Over the years they cultivated many friendships and have been blessed by good, caring extended families. They had hoped to grow old together and enjoy their retirement and their future grandchildren.

Sadly, Michael had developed a rare and fatal illness called Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). This disease attacks the cells in the brain, impairing judgment, social skills and language abilities. There is currently no cure or treatment to slow its progress. Unfortunately, Michael succumbed to complications from FTD on April 26th, 2011.

The following two articles eloquently illustrate the effects of the disease on Michael and his family.

 

A Disappearing Dad
Matt Hartley
The Globe and Mail
November 16, 2007
Reproduced with permission of The Globe and Mail

Michael Shin sat in the living room of his Scarborough, Ont., home while his daughter, Erica, opened her presents for her eighth birthday. Leaning awkwardly on a metal folding chair near the dining room, he watched as she tore off brightly coloured paper, while his two other children began setting up Erica's new hand-held video game. Once the presents were opened, Mr. Shin stood up and walked into the kitchen, where his wife, June, was spreading chocolate and vanilla icing on a fresh batch of cupcakes. Although the warm August night was full of the din of his daughter's party, Mr. Shin just sat silently staring as his family and friends bustled around the kitchen.

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I Got a '69 Chevy
By Terry Watada
Reproduced with permission of the author

The last time I spent any significant amount of time with one of my best friends was back in the summer of '06. I ran into him at the Obon Odori and we decided to spend an afternoon shooting pool, something we had done ever since we became friends in 1977, the Japanese Canadian Centennial year. I was on sabbatical and he had lost his job so it seemed right. We spent the day reminiscing, catching up, eating noodles or "soba" as Nisei call it and playing a few games at some Danforth pool hall. We were both pretty rusty, laughing heartily about our game or lack of it. Just like the old days, except I noticed a few changes in him. His speech was a lot slower, and the conversation he initiated was limited to only two topics: his father's passing and the wealth of some of our common acquaintances. He walked extraordinarily slowly as well. I was concerned but put it off to depression and stress. There was a lot on the man's plate after all.

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