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Strength for the Alzheimer's Journey

The Journey is a rough and lengthy one. This morning I sit by myself quietly in a room that I long ago carved out just for me. I have neglected to use it much in the past four years. I've been a little busy with helping my mom, being a mom and wife, and then trying to do the things that Marie wants to do for herself. After all, four years ago when this journey began with my mom, it became a constant practice to adjust my life without losing my life; without losing myself; with striving to live in the state of contentment with no regrets. I am still practicing.

The Journey is a challenging and ever-changing one. As I sit in this little room that holds me tight in the promise of a new morning, I read a few lines of a book. When I need it most, the words inspire me to continue to do what I do even though each day with my mom is a different road to travel; each conversation with my mom is different from the last; each moment with my mom changes with the temperature of the day. Strength exists in the well of perseverance.

The Journey is a test of endurance, patience, faith, and devotion. In this vibrant space I sit in at this moment, I see that all is how I left it and it has been waiting for me to come and refuel. This creative space quenches my thirsty spirit. In the silence is where I hear the voice of love that lifts my heart and motivates me to keep calling, continue to visit and keep caring for my mom full-heartedly. The light of the candle at my side is my flame of hope alive in the women who take care of my mom with the same devotion they have for their mothers and grandmothers. They are the most beautiful thread that weaves a sacred world that holds my mom in ways I have never experienced before.

The Journey is a time of questioning and unplanned solitude. As I rest here to reflect on these recent years through photos and memories, I arise with the knowledge that spending time away from the noise is a way to replenish my soul. Always, I hear the encouragement to continue to act upon doing the right thing for the greater good, no matter how difficult. When I take the time to look in my mother's eyes, they tell me why I have walked with her. Resistance and difficulties exist in various ways. But, what gently helps to push through these unwanted barriers are compassion and support through the kindness that arrives from the unexpected person who comes into my life as a stranger and has become my sister or brother. When darkness fills the air and makes it hard to breathe in life, lightness shows up through a nurse who understands; a friend who has been through this before; an old friend who picks up the phone to call; a genuine and lasting embrace from someone I am not related to by blood but who is the epitome of family. Words from the love chamber of their hearts spill softly from their lips to fill the void. I love you. My sister. Stay refulgent. I am here for you. Thank you.

And so, I say to you-

If you don't hear it, I love you.

If you need one, I am your sister.

If you feel darkness around you, stay refulgent.

If you experience loneliness, I am here for you.

If no one tells you, thank you.

Although it was never my intention, I am so thankful for the many individuals who have encouraged me to share my experience with my elderly mom who is living with Alzheimer's. I hope my writings offer a sip of strength and crumb of peaceful support for your journey. Keep caring and loving. Keep persevering. Our loved ones need us, and we need each other.



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