FOR GREGORY. He was not a VICTIM of ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, he was a HERO!
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.
Monday, July 6, 2015
The Birds and The Bees
We all were born (thus the "Birds and the Bees.") And we will all die, but most often we do not tell each other the stories about that. We should. I did.
Sometimes people who care for each other so very much, so very deeply, need to let each other know that when their time of death is near, permission is granted to grab it and run. Don't miss the opportunity to talk about these things with your loved one, especially when he or she is ill or near death.
This is the conversation I had with Gregory yesterday. First I got his attention by asking him if we could talk about something. He focused in on me, with complete eye contact, and I began. During the entire conversation Gregory was more engaged with eye-contact then I have seen him in the last year! Periodically he would agree, or look down and shake his head, or seem to seriously be considering what I was telling him. He would say "Yes" or "I know" or he would shake his head.
He seemed to be with me for the entire conversation. His agreements were appropriately timed which to me showed understanding. He was very serious but I also felt that his face was showing a level of relief at our having the conversation. I told him that of course I would miss him and that I would cry but that I wanted him to know that when his time came to die, he needed to do it for himself and not to worry about me. I would be OK and would be happy that he was at peace, able to visit with his departed mom and dad, see his God. (A divergence for me but what ever is on the other side I referred to as God.)
He reached out and held my hand as I continued. I told him that if I get sick and need to die I will do that knowing that he has given me his permission to do so. And we can wait for each other at (as our niece and nephew say) that Great Starbucks in the Sky.
I cried a little and hugged him. He hugged me back putting his arm around my shoulder and patting gently with his hand. These are skills that he is not often able to accomplish. Again, I melted.
It felt good to have the conversation. Sometimes a person needs to hear that it is OK to "go home" and that the surviving person will be OK. Sad ... but ... OK. I am glad I had the conversation with my Gregory and I think he was also.