We live until we die

Yesterday I attended an event at Buddha House, not far from where I live. For many years I have felt drawn towards Buddha House, and have been meaning to visit it, but for various reasons have never made it. This year, I had the great pleasure to listen to His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and as he spoke, I once again felt drawn towards Buddha House, and yet, I didn’t make the effort to go there. Then at a Dementia Research Forum in Brisbane, I met a woman from Adelaide called Jan, whom I have connected with a number of times since, and she was one of the hosts, and the speaker for the event at Buddha House yesterday. It seems that regardless of my own tardiness, I have ended up at Buddha House!
And then, sitting right next to me was a man called Kevin whom I had not seen for approximately 18 years, and who I had been a client of. He is now a retired psychologist, and volunteer mentor. I have referred to him and given him accolades many times over the years, as he was the first person to advise me to write as a form of therapy, one of the most useful pieces of advice in my whole life. Luckily I’m an Action Barbie type of girl,  and so I took his advice, rather than ignore it. He asked me yesterday what was the one thing that helped me the most, and it was that, and in particular his comment that if I didn’t do it, I was wasting my money seeing him, and it was a waste him time seeing  me!

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.


8 thoughts on “We live until we die

  1. Pingback: We all die… |

  2. More connections Kate! But of course…That book is one of my favorites. I have read it and reread it many times over. I pop in and out of it to boost me up or to get inspiration. You will love it I am sure. Think I will go reconnect with my copy today 🙂 Thanks for sharing…Love to you…VK


    • What a serendipitous event. I am Kevin. Two years ago I attended a positive aging session at the Uni of SA and listened in awe to this middle age woman talk about being diagnosed with dementia at 49 and had been living with it for five years. I was in awe at the way she was handling it. Then we unknowlingly sat alongside each other at Buddha House which I had only attended once before. Oh the connected universe eh! I am now looking forward to that coffee next week to share stories. I am almost 80 and still learning and how stimulating it is….kevin.


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