For people with dementia, every day is the same. They don’t know what day of the week it is, what month it is, if it’s their birthday or a holiday. There’s a unique peace to not being burdened with the pressures of time passing. Maybe caregivers can learn from this unexpected advantage.
We should make the most of each day – but maybe not too much of it.
We know that milestones are passing, but does it matter? Should we become depressed or stressed out about spending another birthday or holiday alone – or can we learn from those that we are caring for by accepting each moment for what it is – just a moment – for better or worse.
When we moved to Nashville in December of 2013, TK Kimbrell (who manages Glen’s legacy) and his wife Laura invited us to Richland Country Club for New Year’s Eve dinner and dancing. Glen looked great and was able to greet people with a smile and a hand shake, even though he was entering stage six of Alzheimer’s. He simply enjoyed being with his family and friends.
As the night began to wind down, Ashley walked up to her father and escorted him to the dance floor for a father daughter dance. Their sweet dance brought tears to the eyes of everyone watching, but especially for me, because I knew that this dance would likely substitute for the one she might have at her own wedding someday.
When the countdown to New Years began, I held Glen’s hand. When the clock struck 12, we shared a midnight kiss. The kiss was bittersweet for me because I was marking a milestone, trying hard to savor and mark a moment, but Glen was just there – having a wonderful time, meeting new people, sharing a dance and enjoying a kiss while people cheered all around him. He was having a great night. He didn’t feel the same sadness that I did, and I was almost jealous of him in that moment.
The truth is that none of us are promised a tomorrow and every day is a gift from above.
Let’s make the most of every moment – but not too much of it.