“When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” – Chief Aupumut (1725), Mohican.
My dear husband has worked it out, that is, why I occasionally re-blog or add interesting articles found on the internet, and then use them on my blog. I always state up front to you the reader to the original author if it is someone else. It is usually something I do (I say) when my brain won’t get off its butt and allow me to focus on my own blog, but I guess he was right when he said, it is probably because I am facing changes in my own world of dementia, or am wanting to crawl into the ‘oh so wonderful and oh so hard to crawl out of’ hole of denial. There are days when it is very challenging facing up to the changes of dementia, and the disabilities it ensures we have to manage. There is no reprieve from these changes, no balance; almost never any respite as there remains a grey cloud behind every denial bubble of what is ahead. My husband went home to be with his father as he died. He is peaceful now, and will not have to face up to his failing body any longer. It is a Blessing for him, and although we will miss him, we have felt for some time it was a cruel life for him, lacking in dignity and the will to live. Dying is what is ahead of all of us, whether it is from dementia, cancer, another disease, or just an aging and failing body. Being born is a death sentence. Living well is optional though, and I believe we need to make a choice eventually to have a good time while we are alive, or we are dead anyway. A wonderful speaker in Wellington Dr David Spektor, a Clinical Psychologist in Australia gave a presentation called ‘Death anxiety and the alzheimerisation of aging’, which among other things, discussed the value (or not) of being diagnosed with dementia after the age of 85. He proposed at that age, where statistically 46% of people have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia anyway, what is the point of diagnosing someone with dementia. At the age of 85 and beyond (and younger in my opinion), we are failing in all areas of our bodies; our eyesight, hearing, joints, skin organs, systems and virtually everything in our body is degenerating due to age and/or illness, so why wouldn’t it be ‘normal’ for our brain to be deteriorating. If I put my glasses on near a mirror, I can see it is happening already!! Maybe at the later stages of our lives we don’t need a diagnosis or label of disease at all, but to find ways to accommodate the changes instead.
In the hearts of those who loved him, Dad (my father in law), died a hero.