When travelling the journey of the long farewelling of my folks with dementia, I learned to live in the moment which was so helpful. It prevents the “what if’s” and “how will it play out’s” of the future. A slip back into the past to deal with any unresolved issues also helps but not living there in the “longing for how they used to be”. It also provides moments in the present to treasure, providing relief from the many moments of angst.
To live in the moment, being mindful of what you are thinking about is necessary, as well as reminding oneself to stay in the present.
This week I thought I would share a few of those “treasured moments intermingled with the angst”, that came from my journey of my parents having dementia.
What are some of your treasured moments from your journey?
- This photo was taken about two weeks after my Mum passed away. Mum hadn’t been able to go on bus trips for awhile and as I went to visit Dad, dreading how I would find him, he was about to go on a bus trip to his sweet spot (and mine) – the beach. I suspect this was before it had sunk in that she was gone, in his confused state of mind. I tagged along and it was a very pleasant surprise in a dark time of grief. It turned out to be one of the most precious times I’d had with my Dad. It was also one of our last outings, as he then severely declined when it did actually sink in that Mum had died.
- When my Mum died, I had to face that inevitable and distressing moment of picking up her things. As an only child and with my husband busy working, I went alone. The staff distracted my Dad while I went into their room. Two of the incredible staff found me sitting crying on her bed and offered to help, along with big hugs. It soon turned into laughter as one of the nurses loved my Mums ‘retro’ clothes and I couldn’t fathom it as, Mum and I both knew, I never enjoyed her fashion style 🙂 I gave her the clothes and she still messages me over a year later with photos of my 94yo Mums’ clothes going out on a young gorgeous girl in her 20s 🙂
- One day I arrived and nobody could find Dad anywhere. There was a frantic search outside, down the road, every nook and cranny of the home. After about 15 minutes, my dear Dad was found asleep on Bill’s bed, his neighbour in the next room 🙂
- When Mum had a heart attack, she was certain she hadn’t. She tried to ‘escape’ from hospital and decided everyone, including me, was delusional and against her saying she had heart problems. They even had to call security for my 94yo mother (funny now, not so funny at the time). They asked me to stay overnight with her and she finally settled into a resigned state of her ‘sentence’ in hospital. I include this as a treasured moment as it turned from an extremely stressful, highly emotive experience into what I now see as a beautiful privilege to be there with my Mum to bring peace and love when she was feeling terrified. To spend the night with her in her hospital room a couple of months before her life ended was an experience I am now truly thankful for.
Maybe you would like to join the conversation and share some of your treasured moments.