More stories like Phil's (Season 2 of Grace and Frankie)?
June 14, 2016 2:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm fascinated by Phil's backstory (spoilers below the fold) on season 2 of the Netflix tv show Grace & Frankie. Are there any novels, short stories, movies, or TV episodes with a similar theme? I'm an atheist, so "religious-inspirational" might not be my cup of tea, but I'll try it anyway. I really do want to read these stories. I'm not much interested in Phil's current story (spoilers below the fold) -- just his backstory.

Phil's backstory: previous to the show's starting arc, he was about to divorce his wife when he discovered she had Alzheimer's. He changed his mind, stayed with her to care for her, and has been caring for her ever since (ten years, I think). I'm looking for stories about that -- a marriage/relationship on the rocks (this is a key feature), divorce/breakup is imminent but then chronic illness hits and the healthy spouse/partner stays to be a caregiver because it's the right thing to do. It doesn't have to be the core plot, just something that happens in the story.

I'm not interested in Phil's current story (while still married, he is dating Grace and -- I think -- sleeping with her). I want the origin stuff.

Yes, there is a personal interest -- it's why I'm posting anonymously.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know of any fiction with this theme but it is a story you'll read often on Alzheimer caregiver boards.
posted by Riverine at 7:18 AM on June 14, 2016

Enid and Alfred's story in The Corrections has elements of this, but it's a pretty dysfunctional relationship and probably not a very positive model if you're looking for something supportive.
posted by crocomancer at 8:28 AM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

This would be a perfect question to post in the Alz/stroke/caregiver forums, if the responses you get here don't help.

I suspect the hardest part to meet in this ask will be the "was about to divorce when..." detail. I'm sure they're out there, but they're a minority of the many stories out there that run through similar terrain. I'm sure you've seen many of these stories already, so apologies for anything that seems too basic. I was looking for a story in I think the Times or Post that I recall from the last few years, but I'm having trouble finding it, in which a woman describes how she met a man she loved after her husband's stroke. In the end, the three of them all live together (if that's ringing any bells or prompts you to search for it). If I find it, I'll post it. But I also thought of Diane Ackerman's One Hundred Names for Love. Some other thoughts:

Paper in 'Stroke' journal, 2009
WSJ 2009
AARP, 2010
Psychology Today, 2010
Slate, 2013 (actually hits a tiny bit on the divorce/reconciliation issue)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:58 AM on June 14, 2016

One of the stories in Paris, Je t'aime is about just this.
posted by allymusiqua at 9:13 AM on June 14, 2016

Here's the piece I was trying to find, from the Post and more of a photoessay than an article.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:14 AM on June 14, 2016

This has some similarities to what happens to Rochester and his wife in Jane Eyre (divorce not really an option in the 1840s, but clearly marriage was never good, also madness instead of dementia - but he has a caretaker for her in his house).
posted by FencingGal at 9:18 AM on June 14, 2016

You might be interested in reading GIlda Radner's book 'It's Always Something', which is written from her perspective and includes stories about her illness and her marriage.
posted by bq at 9:54 AM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

The OP emails to say thanks for your suggestions, and adds:
While some of the answers were not exactly what I was looking for, it was still very comforting to read the stories of couple who were navigating Alzheimer's Disease (or other chronic illness), and I'll also be following up with the forum suggestions.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:33 AM on June 16, 2016

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