It’s not too hard to tell that I’m a family caregiver to an adult.
I probably look a little disheveled, with , dark circles under my eyes, toting an oversized purse that contains briefs/depends and an extra change of clothes, and gripping my other hand is my love, my family member: my husband, my wife, my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, my grandmother, my grandfather, my aunt, my uncle. That’s what you may notice.
Look closer still and you’ll notice the unsteady gait, poor speech, lost and confused eyes, slowness, and anxious or withdrawn personality. It’s no secret my family member has dementia.
I know you see the changes. I know you are afraid of the behaviors. I know you notice the differences, and I know you are grateful this is not your loved one.
I will never judge you. I understand. There was a time when I was standing where you are now, observing from a distance, giving a quick and courteous glance of pity, muttering to the person next to me, “Can you imagine?! That has got to be tough. I’m glad it’s not me.”
I was the outsider looking in. Now, let me give you the insider’s view.
My hope is to change what you see.
I wish you could see what I see. Because my family is so much more than a diagnosis. Our lives are full of purpose, compassion and joy.
I wish you could see the love. I wish you could feel the love. It’s love in its grandest form. It’s a type of love that surrounds, embraces, and almost suffocates. This love changes you. It’s agape.
I wish you could see the joy. This type of joy is so much more than just happiness. It is the excitement that comes from small accomplishments, no matter how long or short, these victories last. It’s the first feeling one gets when their loved one, who has long since forgotten your name, let alone that you are related to them, looks at you, says your name and smiles with clear eyes, if only for a moment.
I wish you could see the peace, the peace that surpasses ALL understanding. Feelings of guilt like to block peace. But once an Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiver can come to the conclusion that no matter what, you will never do it all so well that you can make everyone happy, just see the peace that transforms the soul take place. Move forward. Don’t look back. Let peace be your present day.
I wish you could see the patience. I know you the “patient”: the behaviors, frustration, and the burden. I see how the demands placed on a caregiver can transform him/her into the best person they can be. Patience produces perseverance, perseverance develops character, and character, hope. Is there any greater tool in an Alzheimer’s caregiver’s kit, than hope?!
I wish you could see the kindness, not just the kindness that I offer my loved one (that should be easy to see). I’m talking about the affection she gives to me. Look closely, because you might not see it. It’s hidden within her slumbering on my shoulder while we sit on the couch, or the death grip while we walk outside of the house. She is showing her contentment and happiness with me by her side.
I wish you could see the thankfulness, and how very lucky I feel to call myself a family dementia caregiver.
I wish you could see how typical our lives really are. I know you see the differences, the changes. Sure our lives might have more structure, more flexibility, minor or major adjustments. However, we still enjoy family gatherings, barbeques, holidays, going for Sunday drives, laughing, reminiscing, and working together. Our family is flawed (sure, whose isn’t), but we work so well together.
I wish you could see the old me, and recognize how much Alzheimer’s and dementia has blessed me. You might notice the sacrifices and changes in priorities, but I see the treasures freely given to me. I am stronger, bolder, more patient, and brimming with compassion and love.
I wish you could see the beauty, to have the ability to peer past a diagnosis and see my loved one for exactly who they are…a beautiful person.
If you live in fear in an Alzheimer’s world, the journey will be a scary place. If you live in hope and optimism, this is guaranteed to be a thrilling and rewarding ride.
Your perspective in life will determine your destination.
I wish you could see what I see.
Last modified on Thursday, 08 June 2017 19:35
Monday, 05 June 2017
Tuesday, 31 May 2016
Monday, 12 October 2015
Tuesday, 11 August 2015Read more...