Friday, May 6, 2011

Adventures In Dementia and Effort

Adventures In Dementia and Effort ©2011 Joan M. Newcomb

I've talked a lot about how everything anyone has felt was solid and real is now disintegrating.  Solid investments like the stock market and real estate really aren't any more.  People who have identified with, such as their jobs or their marriages find themselves laid off or divorced.  People with strong spiritual beliefs are finding them called into question, and energetically aware people are finding their techniques are working any more.

This is forcing everyone to be in a new place, expand and evolve.

I've been visiting my mother in DC and I had felt something big would happen while I was here.  I had assumed it would be something created by Mother Nature (as other places have had earthquakes and tsunamis) and, while there were tornado watches here, we're quite a ways from Alabama.  We did have a couple of political earthquakes - the most recent was the killing of Usama Bin Laden.

What I couldn't have imagined was that my 85 year old mother would be diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Wow.  She has more in common with Ronald Reagan than just being Republican!

Her personality is disintergrating.  Her memory is evaporating.  She's still mostly here, but not all there.

For someone who survived most of her adult life being in denial, what a way to go.  And at this moment it's pretty painless for her.  She doesn't remember the diagnosis, and I've given up reminding her.  Why bother, when she can't do anything about it?

For me, it's a wonderful spiritual exercise.  If I'm in the present moment with her, I can dance with where she's at.  I can phrase things in a way she'll accept, and I drop expectations of her being any other way.

It feels similar to having a toddler, because with a toddler you just give your life over to caring for them until they're old enough to go to school (yeah, it doesn't really stop there but you do have a bit more space for yourself by then)!  With dementia, it's in reverse as they will grow less capable rather than more.

But at three they are somewhat capable, but not as capable as *they* think they are.  So you let them make pretend cookies on a toy range, or scribble in crayon on a check register.  You step in to do the real thing for them.

At 85 and still early-onset, you can trust her to microwave dinner or boil water for coffee, but she's not up to steaming her vegetables or broiling salmon any more.  She writes all her checks in her check register, but she doesn't carry an accurate balance, and sometimes repeats entries on the following page.  And makes actual double payments or misses payments.  So it's time to step in.

Unlike most toddlers, who you can trust to be toilet trained and ready to go to preschool by a certain age, you don't know the progression (or regression, really) of Alzheimers.

So you don't predict, you stay in the moment, you make plans for the future, and remain realistic and open.

What a great way to approach life in general during these tumultuous times!  Is the economy turning around?  When will a new career or a new relationship happen?  When will things start to get better?

In the present moment, it already is better.  It is exactly as it is.  And a wonderful opportunity to open, to embrace, and to grow.

How can you come into acceptance if something extraordinarily shitty or painful is happening to you?  Scream, cry, yell, dive into and through it.  It's a storm front passing through.  It's labor pains - a contraction.  Let yourself be pushed into new Awareness. You are being birthed into the new Consciousness.

Your identity needs is expanding so rapidly, your aura has stretch marks!  Breath, relax, suck on ice chips and blow raspberries with your lips.

Life is an Adventure in Density and Effort (and for me, currently, Dementia and Alzheimer's).  We created this for the fun of it.  Sometimes muddy, sweaty, painful fun.  But as Expanded Beings we are bigger than any problem, we are more than our current knowing.

So, for the next week, let your self Be Here Now, Love What Is, Chop Wood, Carry Water, Do The Next Indicated Thing.

And see how your life transforms!


Bridg2Peace said...

This is beautiful. She sees the poignancy, the symmetry, the unity, and the perfection in the imperfect. She accepts and adds love to her acceptance. And she does it all with brilliant economy. She and her mother are lucky to have each other. Brava!

Bridg2Peace said...

This is beautiful. Ms. Newcomb sees the poignancy, the symmetry, the unity in the pain and the momentary joys. She is blessed with talent as a writer and love as a woman. Brava!