Life’s challenges engender choices. Living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, either as the person who has the disease or as someone close to them, brings challenges and choices into sharp focus.
As we live the journey, many among us choose “the dark side.” We become debilitatingly bitter and twisted or angry and grief-stricken. Even worse is that by choosing to view their experience in this way, people miss out on opportunities to find and give healing and light.
Others, like care partners Harriet Lovely Benchoff and Alice Cole, choose to give love and find joy in the process. Benchoff stumbled on the dementia “no longer” list, which names the kinds of things care partners may want to let go of (see the full list here):
I no longer have to be right about anything.
I no longer try to explain everything.
I no longer think I am the only one in this battle.
I no longer question.
I no longer feel guilty.
After reading the list, Benchoff, who cares for her mother-in-law, left this comment:
“I no longer wait for the ‘right moment” to hold her tight and tell her how much I love her.”
I was inspired by her words, and asked Benchoff if I might share them on MyAlzheimersStory; her answer was immediate and unequivocal “Absolutely!” She added this touching comment:
“This morning she was very confused and saying “help me, help me please.” When I asked how I could help, though she didn’t open her eyes, she knew my voice, and she said “hold me, hold me.” I was happy to. I cradled her head in my arms and held her as long as she wanted as she kept saying, ” I love you. I love you so much!” It such a precious moment for me.”
Thank you Harriet Lovely Benchoff for epitomizing your middle name and choosing love.
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