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.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dayenu: A Jewish Song

For me, Judaism is more the cultural and traditional foundation of my childhood and therefore my adulthood, than it is a religious calling. But those traditions run deep.

Dyenu (Hebrew:דַּיֵּנוּ) is a song that is part of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The word means approximately "it would have been enough for us", "it would have been sufficient", or "it would have sufficed." This traditional up-beat Passover song is over one thousand years old. The song is about being grateful to God for all of the gifts he gave the Jewish people, such as taking them out of slavery, giving them the Torah and shabbat, and many other blessings he has bestowed on his people and had God only given one of the gifts, it would have still been enough. This is to show much greater appreciation for all of them as a whole.

Often people will offer commiseration at "how horrible Gregory's Dementia/ Alzheimer's must be for you as his life long partner." I agree it is in that I must continue to live my life while my best friend, person I love most in the world, soul mate slowly disappears and is unable to give me the support in the ways that he used to. 

The tradition of singing "Dayenu" humms its melody in my head, when Gregory spontaneously (once in a while) says, "I love you," that is enough for me. 

When I see him smiling, or sleeping, or laughing; that is enough for me. 

When I say, "Gregory, you know what?" And he replies, "What?" And I say, "I love you." And he replies, "I know." This is enough for me.

When we both get the giggles, that is enough.

When I ask for a kiss and have to go in to give the kiss to him or when I ask for a kiss and he leans in to me to give the kiss to me, that is enough.

When he spontaneously reaches for my hand to hold or reaches out and gives me a hug, these are enough.

When I ask, "Are you happy?" "Are you OK?" and he answers, "Yes." Enough.

When we sing together, more than enough.

Caring for and loving someone with Dementia/ Alzheimer's is about being able to grow and change with the times and in knowing how much is enough. Perhaps that is good advice for anyone, with or without having to deal with Dementia/ Alzheimer's ... Knowing how much is enough.

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