July 8, 2017: The images popped up unbidden on my Facebook page–did I want to re-share this photo album from five years ago today? My chest tightened. A prickly ball make its way up my throat, and lodged at the top of it.
I’d “forgotten” about the dozens of delightful meals we’d eaten on the back deck in the summer of 2012, the one before Mom went into what I came to call “ElderJail.” I hadn’t thought about the hundreds such meals–breakfasts, lunches and dinners–we’d enjoyed over the 40 years she’d lived in the big red brick house on the hill. But when FB reminded me, I was flooded with memories.
There’s something really important everyone should know about Alzheimer disease:
A diagnosis of dementia is no more a death sentence than life itself is. People who live with dementia have the capacity to experience joy, love, sadness, happiness, grief and wonder just like we all do for a very long time. And that capacity is enhanced when they are surrounded by people who care deeply for them, and who help them engage life in whatever way they can in the moment.
On July 8, 2012, when Mom was well into the mid “stages” of Alzheimer disease, we savoured a meal of fresh vegetables I grilled on the barbecue. The food was delicious. The late-afternoon sun cast long soft shadows across the edges of the field. Mom looked beautiful and happy.
I’m grateful for the time we had, despite the challenges we also endured, and I’m pleased to share these thoughts and images with you today.