You don’t have to be a Monty Python fan for the recent news of Terry Jones’ battle with dementia to be absolutely heartbreaking. It’s a nasty horrible thing to deal with and no one wants to see a family member, a friend, a comedy hero or anyone at all go through it.
Following the news that Jones has been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia (a variant of Frontotemporal Dementia), his friend and frequent work partner Michael Palin shared a message on Facebook that’s incredibly moving. Accompanied by a picture of the two together, Palin expressed the hurt he’s felt watching his friend deal with his condition.
“Terry J has been my close friend and workmate for over fifty years,” shared Palin. “The progress of his dementia has been painful to watch and the news announced yesterday that he has a type of aphasia which is gradually depriving him of the ability to speak is about the cruellest thing that could befall someone to whom words, ideas, arguments, jokes and stories were once the stuff of life.”
The cruelty of what the condition has taken away from Jones isn’t the entire story, however. Palin stresses that his friend is still active and a part of his life.
“Not that Terry is out of circulation,” he writes. “He spends time with his family and only two days ago I met up with him for one of our regular meals at his local pub. Howard Johnson, an American friend of Python, was in town and took this picture. Terry doesn’t say very much but he smiles, laughs, recognises and responds, and I’m always pleased to see him. Long may that last.”
BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) has announced plans to honor Jones with its Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television.