Thanksgiving challenges have abounded this month. In order to keep a larger perspective away from frustration and depression, I try to retain an attitude of gratitude EVERY day, but appreciate the opportunity to participate in formal, non-denominational and inclusive practice of giving thanks … within this context of dementia symptoms.
- First of all, I am thankful for a mission; an over-arching compelling need that must be met, to get me up and keep on keeping on every morning. This gives me opportunity to stand up and speak out on the crucial role of those who have lived experience of dementia symptoms; to share the effects of those symptoms along with coping strategies that have worked for THEM, while they still retain those abilities to stand up and speak out. *
- Like all of us, some of my “friends” have dropped off along the way, but I am immeasurably thankful to those family and personal friends who generously share their time and energy in order to continue relationship with me — even when communication becomes more difficult. Special thanks to those who learn about dementia symptoms enough to recognize the problems I am having … and participate in finding temporary coping tools.
- I am thankful for consisten encouragement from others who travel this path, such as fellow Dementia Mentors (www.dementiamentors.org/) and weekly visits with Harry Urban along with his inspirational daily blog, blogs from over 50 other PWD, and FaceBook friendship with many new friends.
“I could sit here and complain about all the things I lost and continue to lose
or maybe about all the stigmas and unjust things that happen to me
but I am thankful I can rise above that
and gives thanks to what I still have left. …”
Harry Urban on 2014-11/26; 10yrs after diagnosis
Personally, focus on gratitude does not mean that I negate or even ignore grief. Instead I mindfully lean into the grief in order to ENABLE an attitude of gratitude. When grief comes due in its cycle, I mindfully acknowledge and experience those thoughts and emotions. My current grief (and fear) is that I am forgetting names. I only have two grandchildren, and I spend time with each of them every week, but this week had to ask my husband their names — several times. As anticipatory grief, I appreciate that even fear can be a gift for prompting action, and I attempt to take appropriate action in coping tools. There might be norms for the grief experience, but I recognize each person’s cycle of grief varies, along with their best methods to deal with it. I acknowledge the fear this latest symptom brings. I further revise my coping tools (again). I cry. I usually WRITE. … and then I move on (for a while — until the next cycle).
4. So I am thankful for you, dear reader. You give me hope that the experiences can be used in some way to benefit others; that these experiences can become part of resource tools to enrich the relationships that are building blocks for all community. Thank you for choosing to invest your time and energy, allowing my words to become tools. Happy HAPPY Thanks-givings — every day of the year. (( smile )). — Tru
*= “Stand Up and Speak Out” was Richard Taylor’s phrase of 2011-June-04.
Note: I know a few people who have a prayer-like behavior of conscious thought. When going to bed they will fix in their mind a conscious thought of something positive for the day. Nice alternative for those who do not pray.
For further detail see the following:
My posting “Melancholy Day” at https://truthfulkindness.com/2014/11/10/melancholy-day/;
Mick Carmody at http://carmodym59.com/2015/08/11/eventfull-and-fruitfull/;
My posting “Path thru Loss …” at https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/08/18/loss-grief-choices-dementia-advocacy/;
My Good-bye letter to my Service Dog at http://tribute.perfectmemorials.com/hero-service-dog;
Faith Riverstone at https://stilllifewithdementia.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/words-like-life-jackets/;
… and my letter of thanks to Alzheimers Disease International at https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/04/27/letter-of-thanks/;
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