Being a caregiver for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, it’s a daily struggle for them and for us as caregivers. Some days are harder than others. Some moments are stormy and then when the sun breaks through with a glorious rainbow, we are rewarded with a real time reality moment of lucidity with a loved one ~ whether it be a shared trip down memory lane or a moment of recognition, a shared laugh, even a hug with the knowledge that we both know who we are. For me, it’s the rainbow throughout the storms that their minds are enduring.
I feel compassion as I take time to observe how they live in the world of their minds. It’s frightening when your mind doesn’t work as it used to and it’s beleaguering the point when I say it over and over that I can’t imagine how hard it must be. We go with the flow here. Allowing whatever comes to her mind to flow and I try to ride the wave even when the tsunami hits us. Dogged determination takes over common sense and many times it’s wasted breath to explain. Changing the channel, getting up to do something else or pausing to change the focus does help sometimes, but at others, it changes nothing and she perseverates all the harder on the thought at hand.
What I live for are the stolen moments of rainbows through the storm: the laughter which releases anxiety, the connection when I’ve surprised her with a visit from an old friend of hers, the banter which we share when we travel down memory lane.
The storms pass, but get longer as the days do. Riding this roller coaster of brain firings and misfirings is hard for us both as we travel down the end of the journey. She longs to crawl back into my womb at times and it saddens me. She is not my child by birth, yet she’s now my child. If I were able to carry her, protect her and keep her with me safe and secure, I would try, but it’s not an option. To release her as she wishes at times would be beneficial I believe, even though it saddens me a great deal.
I long for the carefree days of youth and vitality which are no longer. I long to be held and protected myself, but I only have my own arms to do that for me. So I take moments of peace whenever I can, to hold and to hug myself so that I can continue to have strength to do it for her as well.
It’s hard to watch a loved one’s mind deteriorate while they sometimes understand what is happening to them. All I can do is be there for her which I am doing, heart, mind, soul and physically, seeing to her needs and allowing my own a back seat while we carry onwards to a destination which makes no sense to either of us.
Thanks for reading my blog today. I just needed to write, to mourn, to have a quiet moment to center myself again so that when she awakens, I can be fresh as a daisy, upbeat and filled with loving kindness and empathy in order to find the rainbows whenever I can through the storms.