There’s a peaceful way of being when we are in the moment of mindful conversations with loved ones ~ especially those who have memory issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. Too often, we can be caught up in the web of needing/wanting them to be able to revert back to the loved ones we once knew and the loved ones we miss from before the illness arrived. It is hard for both parties to find a peaceful way to communicate when there’s been such a change in our loved ones. If there are unresolved issues, it’s even harder for those who are not afflicted by memory issues.
There is a plus though that when we take the time to understand, we can heal from the bereft feelings that may lay dormant in our attempts to converse at the previous levels that we did with our loved ones. As I understand and have experienced, being that I have loved ones who are in a memory care facility, many times our loved ones are living in the present moment and when we can get onto that path of presence with them, we can have the loveliest conversations when we leave our sadness and baggage at the door before entering the conversation.
Does this make sense to you?
For me, when I just allow the communication to flow between us. I enjoy our conversations even when they are repetitive. Just to chat daily is sometimes a struggle, but I try to have a few giggles prepared to keep them aware of my life and to inquire about theirs and to joke about silly things that we remember together ~ like songs, family phrases, good memories. Keeping the conversation light, allows them to participate and to feel good and thus, I feel good. Sure, there are times when they are feeling poorly and get angry or frustrated and then I simply allow them to speak, to repeat and to process if they are able to do that along the way. Sometimes a complete change in conversational direction is necessary and that’s when it seems one of my cats do something silly and I can easily interrupt and change the channel to a lighter note and we can resume with them feeling good, feeling connected and I feel the connection as well.
It saddens me though I try to keep my heartlight shining as much as possible. I awoke this morning crying in a dream. All I remember from it is the repetitive words, “I love you,” from my loved one. Even though at the end of every conversation, we repeat, “I love you” to each other at least 5 times, I relish every single “I love you,” and I have for awhile now. Because I know that there are those who wish they could hear those 3 precious words again from their loved ones and someday I may be in that same position.
There are those of us who find it hard to take time to call our loved ones with memory problems. It isn’t easy to carve out time from our busy lives. But if you want to stay in touch, a visit, a card, a small token of yourself, a photo and even a phone call helps to bridge the gap and I believe it helps our loved ones to stay in touch with us and not feel so lonely. Because, let’s face it, when your mind is not working like you remember it to work and you’re frustrated with memory issues or your mind simply goes on the fritz at times, it’s hard to bear. From what I’ve seen, once you cross that bridge from knowing that your mind is fighting a losing battle with the disease, to accepting the new place your mind is in, I think it’s easier for the patient. But it still brings out the sadness is us all.
Don’t shy away from mindful, loving conversations. Enjoy the loving connections while you can for one day, you may wake up dreaming, “I love you” and not be able to hear that precious phrase, except in your memories. Those that have memory issues need to feel loved, treasured and cherished, just like everyone else on the planet. It is our job to remind them…I love you.