Today is World Alzheimer’s Day, and I was thinking about courage. There are all kinds of courage, but I was thinking about the time we, my sister and I, had to put our parents into a nursing home. It took the courage of our convictions to do it. My sister didn’t agree at first, and that created some guilt on my part. But she soon realized that I was right. I was also twelve years older than she was.
Courage was cleaning out the apartment. The personal belongings of a parent; papers and things from their desk, going through the closets and the closed drawers. It was heartbreaking to see how little was left inside those closed doors and drawers.
Where were the letters and pictures? Why did Mom throw all of them out? To make it easier for us? To make it easier on the grandchildren who loved them? Dealing with the grandkids took a quiet courage.
And then there was the courage to pull the plug. My father had already died, and my mother had no lungs left. She was on life support, couldn’t talk, we couldn’t get close enough to give her a hug, all we could do was hold her hand. It seemed to me her eyes were pleading for us to let her go. We talked to the lung doctor and there was nothing they were able to do.
Yet, when all is said and done, we know we did the right thing, and yes, it took courage.
When my husband was suddenly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and we had to keep this news a secret because he still worked and they insisted we not say anything. So we didn’t say anything.
It took all my courage tp write my guts out on paper in that secret journal. Who could I talk to except the paper? Seven years later the diagnosis was changed, and I showed my husband that secret journal. He said I had to publish it. It took courage for me to do it. But do it I did, and the rewards are now coming in.
My book, Behind The Mask, shows the courage and also the compassion for the new caregiver. My thoughts are their thoughts. I am so glad I took off my Mask. The comments are so heartwrenching and heartwarming at the same time.
And now since the book came out, I decided that I want everyone to adopt a caregiver. Older people have courage, dreams and wisdom.
I have a vision for the future. Committment to the community we live in. Find a caregiver, give her your support, write her an email, ask how she is doing, and mean it. Tell her/him you can listen, you have compassion and the courage to do this.
Now my courage comes from within myself. I know where I’m going and with everyone’s help my Adopt A Caregiver will be everywhere There are already many people helping me, planting the seeds.
Remember there is nothing to join, no dues to pay, no committment to anyone but yourself.
Support the caregiver, you too have courage, compassion and community within yourself.
Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene