I reflected in another post on five raw emotions Alzheimers and dementia caregivers feel every day. These feelings are sometimes hard to deal with. They make care partnering a real challenge. But care partners such as myself also experience hopeful, positive, uplifting emotions that fill our hearts and keep us going round and round up and down on the care partnering rollercoaster.
Here are five I wouldn’t give up for the world:
For the people I care with/for, for me, for all the other care partners out there; for every person with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, for anyone who never asked for nor wanted the role of care partner but who could not abandon a loved one in her or his time of need.
That is found in small things that I experience with people living with dementia: watching a sunset, singing, afternoon tea, rhyming words, enjoying flowers, holding hands, seeing each other with eyes that are not yet blind, hearing each other with ears that are not yet deaf and connecting at a deeper level.
In a way that I don’t recall having experienced before. During this journey with people with dementia I have let go of old resentments, stopped caring so much about being seen myself and instead focused on fully seeing people with dementia as they are. The best gift I have received is the capacity to love unconditionally, without expectation, without need. Priceless.
Of the body, heart and soul that comes from being at once totally depleted yet more alive, exposed and aware than ever. The tenderness of the bond between people who love each other and those around them in new and different ways.
That even though I didn’t want this care partnering role, I chose it for the right reasons and in fulfilling it I experience unconditional love (from the giving side), discover aspects of myself I didn’t know existed, heal long-held hurts and wounds, and grow into a better human being than the one I was before.
Strange as it may sound, I’m grateful or all of these joys and sorrows as well as the more difficult raw emotions I feel. In an odd way, I’m also thankful to Alzheimer’s disease for having given me the opportunity to be fully, tragically, lovingly human.