PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Before and After

When dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, there are many before and afters. Over the last 11+ years, I know that Gregory and I have experienced many: some good, some difficult, some ugly.

The secret to success, happiness, peace of mind, etc ... I believe ... in dealing with the disease, is being able to be in the present, seeing the person with the disease as a person NOT only as the disease.

It is not easy to do, but I find that if I tuck away the sad feelings until a later date, I can enjoy the joy of the moment and express as well as feel the love that still exists so strongly between Gregory and me.

If I spend too much time thinking about the before's or after's, I loose the precious now's.

Emotions are not bad. Emotions do not have to be "out of control!" My emotions surface as a barometer of where I am currently in my life and of how I am dealing with being alive.

So I feel that emotions are not bad, they can be helpful friends if you allow them to be. I welcome them when they surface, I thank them for the messages they bring, and I sit with them awhile even though they may make me sad and cause me to cry. Better said: As I allow them to make me sad and allow them to make me cry, and that is OK.

But then I thank them again and send them on their way so I can get back to living the joys and blessings of my life, of which there are many.

Another thing I do, if I do not have time to "sit with them awhile" is thank them, send them my love, and tell them "Not now! Please leave! Come back later when I have time to sit with you!"

It usually works for me.

This post of before and after was prompted by two photographs my friend Jan Yourist texted to me as she was helping Gregory with lunch today. Manny, Gregory's helper is on a religious retreat so I asked Jan to cover for today's lunch and I will be with him later in the afternoon, for dinner. and after to watch TV.

The before and after pictured below demonstrate how joy can be found in the present.

Jan's caption for the first photograph was: "I am hungry." Gregory looks good, is finally over his cough and cold, is able to keep his neck strongly straight, is focused, and posed for Jan's iPhone. He may not look happy but Jan interpreted it as, "I am hungry." And that is a fair interpretation.

This "after" photograph shows Gregory happy, smiling, probably chatty, stomach pleasantly full with Lieberman's delicious Kosher cooking (and it is good, I taste it often!) I do not need to add a caption as the photograph speaks for itself!

In closing, I could allow myself to be sad. I could dwell on who Gregory was in the past and who he is now. I could dwell on all he has lost and all I have lost. I could think about his being at Lieberman in his new narrow environment and me being at home in my environment which continues to grow. I could think of what lies ahead for Gregory and what lies ahead for me. While who knows what really will take place and when, most likely my outlook is better than his.

But why do that when I can choose to be happy. Happy to see this lovely photograph, glad he is well taken care of, glad he beat the recent cold, happy that we have such good friends like Jan who will take an afternoon to help out, happy. I just feel happy. The sad is still there but I thank it and tell it that right now I would rather be happy and maybe some other time I will allow myself to sit a while with sad!

This post is dedicated to Jan Yourist (click here to visit her blog) for her support as well as Corinne Peterson (click to see her site), (who hates to be called my Guru but she is) who has helped me to find peace of mind during Gregory and my journey!

1 comment:

  1. And I was happy today as well. Gregory made me laugh and smile. I was happy to have had the time to help, but most of all happy that Gregory is a dear friend and that the two of you are in my life.


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