Friday, August 19, 2016

NEVER A DULL MOMENT

There is never a dull moment in our Alzheimer's support group. Every time we meet, there are new people, with diverse challenges. One man told how he had moved from his home in Colorado to be with his parents; his father suffers from Alzheimer's, so he came to help his  mother bear the burden of the 36 hour day. A woman wept openly, still grieving her husband's death from dementia. Another new man was present, seeking help for his brother in another State, who  refuses  to get help for his dementia. Two daughters of a woman in the throes of early dementia,  talked about how they could help their proud mother admit her problem, and get help. A man had recently put his wife in a locked down Memory Care, but can't let go. He spends an inordinate time with her, denying his own needs. The group urged him to be good to himself, and not get hung up on the guilt trip his wife puts on him. A woman is thrown into the role of a distant caregiver, as she lives a good distance from a sister, diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  Although the group did not have all the answers, they provided a safe place for caregivers to vent their feelings, and feel at home with others facing similar issues. One cannot be present without feeling this is "holy ground," and a true faith community of love and compassion.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

PROP ME UP ON EVERY LEANING SIDE

One of my friends once  taught me a prayer,"Lord, prop me up on every leaning side." I filed it my memory bank, and now it is a daily prayer. 
.Afflicted with neuropathy, and always subject  to falling, it has become my old age mantra. My daughter gave me a new state of the art, guardian walker, 
which has brakes and a seat. So , I get along. Getting in & out of places,  is a struggle, but it keeps me  somewhat mobile. 
My physician told me that I was one of few patients who brings their walkers to appointments. Their pride gets in the way. James Tobin's book, The Man He Became,.a stirring story of President Roosevelt's overcoming his handicap, has been an inspiration to me. At times when I almost fall, I am reminded of the 90+ year old Eli of the Old Testament. Nearly blind , when he heard news of Israel's defeat, the slaughter of sons. and the loss of the ark, he fell off his seat by the side of the gate, and died from a broken neck. God forbid! An old monk was asked for the secret of his life and he replied., "I fall down. I get up. I fall down and get up/"

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

WISDOM INDEED


Gandhi's wisdom is much needed in these hectic months of political campaigns

LISTEN:
Live as if you were to die tomorrow;
learn as if you live forever.

When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the leader
becomes irresistible

I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always





Thursday, July 28, 2016

BROKEN CHORDS VIBRATE ONCE MORE

I still have happy memories of my older sister, Patricia, who died some time ago from vascular dementia. Earlier, Pat's ministry was to play the piano in nursing homes, where many residents suffered from dementia. Once, I went with her as she played some of the old tunes. Residents with dementia who rarely spoke and usually were slumped in their seats, suddenly came to life. They tapped their feet and swayed with the music, and some  even sang the words. I still remember one dear lady, with that usual  blank expression, had a light on her face as she sang  the words of the old Gospel hymn, In  the Garden, "And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and tells me I am his own.' It was a taste of Resurrection in that somewhat dreary place. Wherever heaven is, I believe Pat still plays the piano for healed souls and lost memories restored. For years my wife, Alice Ann, and I did worship in Memory Care facilities. Often I felt a failure when I used words, but when we sang, it was a different matter. "Chords that were broken vibrate once more." I learned that when ability to engage in conversation and abstract thought had gone, music endured. Music had reached beyond dementia to the soul.  We always ended with a favorite chorus written by David Haas,

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name,
Come and follow me,
I will bring you home, 
I love you and you are mine.

YES!