Shifting the joy
A recent loss of a loved one with dementia is inspiring this post and has invited much reflection. Much love and appreciation to Karen and healing to her many loved ones! Over time, I'll be addressing this loss from some different perspectives but today's perspective is about finding the joys, whenever and wherever we can.
We talk about how we lose the person with dementia twice: first when they decline in so many ways and next when they pass on to wherever we all go .... But, what I have noticed and practice with my peeps ("clients"), is really shifting MY perspective/perception/experience of WHO they are in this moment. Yes, folks change, they stop doing the things they loved to do for so many years. They may stop doing the things which perhaps helped 'define' who they were (or maybe the way WE define them?).
This usually saddens us, we perceive what they and we have lost. What I learned with my Granny was to set all that aside as much as possible and focus on the NOW. This is my loved one, what do they need? What do I need? This is true presence, mindfulness, holding space, truly being in the moment, honoring who they ARE right now; and this can take real practice! I learned to notice and create joys in the moment, no matter how small or brief it seems. A touch, a hug, a look, a smile, a laugh, movement, pleasantly talking to themselves, toe-tapping to music, etc. Trying to catch the thread of what they are communicating to connect with them.
No, it's not the same, none of us are. But there remains joy to be found, noticed, cultivated, cherished. I don't suggest this is easy, but this is a gift we give to our loved ones, but as important, a gift we must give to ourselves.
Take good care,