Joy in Alzheimer's
I took a little time this weekend to get my nails done in a deep purple. While my manicure was underway, the lady next to me commented on the color and asked if I was a bit early for Halloween. I told her I was going purple or the month for Alzheimer's Awareness. She tried to make a connection and asked if I was doing this because of a grandparent. Her jaw dropped when I told her I did this because of my 42 year old sister.
She quickly became uncomfortable and stammered out an apology which I brushed aside. She decided her next tactic would be to tell me about how horrible Alzheimer's is and how she felt there was nothing good about it. I agreed that Alzheimer's is a dreadful disease but that we have a choice in our approach and that joy is an option. We can find moments of laughter, of connection and satisfaction.
I told her of an email I received from a reader sharing the story of how her mother added ginger ale and cranberry juice to her morning's oatmeal because she wasn't happy with the flavor. She ate it all and was happy. I told her of Lyn's sheer delight in Nikka. I tried to share a third example but she cut me off saying "It is just horrible that they are out of their minds." I just smiled and turned back to speak with the manicurist.
This woman has decided nothing positive can be associated with Alzheimer's. A shame... I was able to drop the name of the blog and I hope she looks it up. In case she does, I present the following links which, to me, all speak of something other than dread or horror of Alzheimer's.
No, the disease is not all light and happiness. I would never claim that.
It is a time for learning to look at life a bit differently than we may have before and a time to select how we accompany or support a person as they approach the end of their life. While the path of the disease differs for each person, the result is always the same. Knowing that, we have time to enjoy before the end. We have time to make amends, to forgive past hurts, to show love and practice patience. That is a privilege that we often overlook.