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, December 26, 2015

The Bear

As you may have read in a previous post, a little bit of Gregory's ashes are tucked lovingly into a white bronze bear which I carry in my pocket, as an amulet for love, remembrance, and protection.

The bear, or Gregory Bear as I call him, was in my pocket during the presentation of my observations, comments, and suggestions as shared with all of the Department Heads at Lieberman Center where Gregory spent the last 18 months of his life receiving excellent care and where I visited him almost every day. The post about the meeting can be seen here: (Opens in a new window.)

In many ways it was a miracle that the people who run Lieberman cared enough to want to hear from me and that they would devote an hour and a half out of their busy, often overworked schedules to attend a lunch meeting to do so. 

My presentation was well received, I do not think that anyone heard things that they did not already know, but perhaps some of my suggestions helped shed a new light on how some of what goes on at Lieberman could be better, or fixed, or implemented.

Perhaps my comments, from the point of view of a family member who was able to engage with staff, residents, and family of residents in a way that was supportive, grateful, and non-threatening, would plant seeds for future change.

As I was leaving the meeting, I felt a great sense of completion. I had supported Gregory during his stay at Lieberman. I was with him as he prepared for his passage and finally passed. I contributed to staff recognition and appreciation. I organized a meeting to share my observations for improvement and presented it well. I felt as though my mission was accomplished. Yes, I felt a great sense of completion.

When I got home, I emptied my pockets into the bowl on the table in the front hall. That night as I was drifting off to sleep, I realized that I did not remember taking Gregory Bear out of my pocket and putting him in his little box which lives in the bowl. I got out of bed to double check and sure enough there was no Gregory Bear to see. He had gone missing.

I checked the bowl, the drawers in the table beneath the bowl, rechecked my pants pockets in the closet, double checked everything, checked the pants that I had worn the day before, just in case. No Gregory Bear.

At first I was upset. I had never lost anything by having it fall out of my pocket before. How could this have happened? I calmed myself down saying, "At least it wasn't something significant that cannot be replaced." There is still a lot of Gregory left and I can always buy another bear to fill.

I calmed myself down by telling myself that perhaps it was destiny that the bear go missing as part of my feeling a great sense of completion. Perhaps I was ready to move on to the next part of my life. 

I sent a photo of the bear to the woman who had organized the meeting at Lieberman. She checked with the lost and found, looked on the floor around the room, asked the custodians if they had seen the missing bear. No luck.

Several weeks after Gregory Bear took a hike, I was filling the pockets of my Santa Claus suit as I was preparing to be Santa at a Casa Norte Volunteer Gift Wrapping Party. I opened the drawer so I could take a few cough drops, which would be needed after the expected many HO HO HOs. 

And who should be sitting there in with the cough drops? Gregory Bear! You can imagine my joy! There were only half a dozen drops with the bear. It is not like he was covered or hidden. There he sat in full view in the place I had previously looked, or so I thought. Maybe I never looked in the drawer. Maybe I just looked past him. Maybe he was gone and decided to return after I had a chance to deal with the separation? Who knows for sure.

Either way, Gregory Bear and I are happily reunited and whenever I need "a little bit of Gregory," I put my hand in my pocket and caress the amulet. Love is strong in the little ways one copes and remembers. It feels like yet another miracle send by Gregory to me with love.

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