It was my very great pleasure to reconnect with him again, and of course being the air head that I am, I believe absolutely the Universe sent me to Buddha House yesterday, and not one day sooner or later, to meet him. Coffee together is on our agenda soon, which I look forward to.
The second person to influence me in this way is another retired psychologist, Richard Taylor, and his advice, found through finding excerpts of his writings in the online world, was to write as therapy. I feel very honoured and fortunate to call Richard my friend, and to have met him in person. We feel like kindred spirits, and I am excited about spending time with him again next year at the Alzheimer’s Disease International conference in Puerto Rico. His advice to write simply confirmed what Kevin had taught me, which through previous experience, I knew would be perhaps the most helpful thing I could do, and an important and significant tool for my healing. Thanks to the serendipity of the universe, I have been lucky enough to meet both of these amazing men.
This tool [writing] is more important with dementia, as it is not one crisis or one loss, but a constant flow of losses and changes to one’s functioning, not only impacting the person with dementia, but their loved ones. The grief of dementia is even more like being at sea on a raft with a broken sail than how I felt with suicide grief. The challenge with dementia is that as you get used to or accept one loss (of function or ability), another one pops its ugly head up or it gets worse. The constant changes cause a very complex grief response, and we are always working on ways to come to terms with them. It is complicated, and challenging, and if we don’t work on it all the time, or jump into our denial bubbles, it can become overwhelming.
Connect, write, listen to my inner self, take action, accept my lot, ask for help… these are some of my mottos. I often say ‘You live until you die’, and Kevin told me about a book and poem, which he has sent me last night.
In Dawna Markova’s book, “I will not die an unlived life“, she wrote this poem at her father’s death;
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days to allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart
Until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which came to me as blossom goes on as fruit.