Living with dementia or addiction within the family, often feels like you are flying within a storm. The air is rough. Yet, you have unexpected calm periods, which you joyfully accept.
Learning to peacefully live within the chaos is a sort of learned skill; which takes much patience, courage, faith, and perseverance. It is a continual quest trying to hold the tension of uncertainty and fear, and also learn how to not only accept the pain in the journey, but to embrace it.
Every time I visit mom, I never know how she will be that day. She may be having a good day, like last Monday, where conversation came easy and she was content to live in the moment. I treasure those moments. Because I am not sure how many more we will get.
Some days we go, and she has her bag packed, ready to go “home”. She is fixated on getting out of there, wanting to experience a sort of freedom she once had, even though she doesn’t quite remember what that was like. She no longer remembers where her home used to be, she just knows that where she presently resides, is not it.
On those days, I do a lot more redirecting and talking of the past (not of “home”!) to help keep her mind on pleasant things. On some days, it is easy to do, and on others, it is very emotionally exhausting and depressing. I focus on the love we share, and gratitude for the things we still have.
Lately, I have found much comfort in my convictions and beliefs in redemptive suffering. As a Catholic, I firmly believe that suffering offered up for the good of others (mine or another’s) can have real redemptive power and strength. I found an easy to understand explanation of that here:
II Corinthians 4:8-12
In all things we suffer tribulation: but are not distressed. We are straightened: but are not destitute. We suffer persecution: but are not forsaken. We are cast down: but we perish not. Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake: that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us: but life in you.
In the wings,
Living for each day,
What time will bring
Living within the tension,
Striving with intention,
New meaning in the pain
In smooth skies,
And we are all
Taking a dive…
His grace will catch us,
And we’ll never
Just fall out
Of the sky…