Respect Still Has To Matter, Dan
In the late nineties, I can remember turning on the television on Saturday mornings and watching this beautiful, intelligent, incredibly creative, brown-skinned woman named B. Smith. This former model and restaurateur cooked incredible dishes, decorated, talked with celebrities, and possessed an unmatched poise that locked me in.
In 2014, the news of her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease saddened me. I watched a news story of how she was coping with her illness, and how her husband Dan Gasby was taking immeasurable care of her. The story was heartwarming and reaffirmed that love could conquer all.
Fast forward five years. Dan Gasby is posting pictures of his new girlfriend to the Facebook page he shares with his ailing wife. For obvious reasons, fans are outraged but Gasby doesn’t seem to understand why.
Gasby not only dates his girlfriend – 10 years his junior – but has moved her into the home he still shares with his wife. The girlfriend functions as caregiver to B. Smith, who is now in the advance stages of the disease and no longer recognizes herself in photos.
Yes, you’re right – Dan Gasby is pure trash. How could he do something so unacceptable?
In light of all this, Gasby has taken himself on a press tour to defend and promote his behavior. He has recently appeared on Dr. Oz and The View to discuss the backlash he and his girlfriend have faced since going public – like they are the victims here.
Alzheimer’s disease is a soul-snatcher and robs people of their very essence. To watch a loved one regress and be rendered helpless, has to be the most difficult thing to go through. The guilt and pity of not being able to do anything about it is an enormous emotional toll.
So is Dan Gasby to be faulted for obtaining companionship from another woman? Well, he took vows for “in sickness and in health” and “till death do we part”, and more importantly “forsaking all others”.
My mind goes to the 2004 film "The Notebook" where the fiercely devoted husband takes care of his wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s – even moving into the nursing home where she was. Sometimes she remembered him and their life together, but most of the time she wouldn’t.
Some would say that a man has needs. I believe that is an excuse; self-permission to do what he wants. That doesn’t make it right. And the fact that he is flaunting his extra-marital relationship is just too much.
On The View, Gasby told the ladies, “When we got the diagnosis at Mount Sinai … she stopped me, put her hand on my arm and … she said to me, ‘I want you to go on,'” defending his decision. “I’m not doing anything we didn’t discuss.”
Somehow, I don’t believe this is what she meant. I have a hard time believing that she meant for him to move his lover into their home. Gasby said he “could have easily placed her in a facility”. I suppose he said this in an attempt to make it sound better for us. Or maybe he is telling himself this to justify what he’s doing his own mind.
Dan Gasby told Al Roker that the sole reason for the backlash, he believes, is because his girlfriend is a white woman. Really, Dan? Really? The sheer ignorance of this man – believing that race is the issue – is really mind-blowing. That’s the best you can come up with Dan?
After 26 years of marriage, we would like to think a man will honor and respect his wife during times like this. EVEN IF he felt the need to step outside his marriage, moving the woman into the house and talking about it like it's natural is nonsense.