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Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

Accepting Imperfections in Ourselves and Others


As I had been part way through writing this blog, my friend Justine, from the Cassier Cannery ( if you haven’t been you should go) posted this message which spoke exactly about what I’ve been writing thinking about this morning. So here it is:

Grandma once gave me a tip:
In times of trouble, carry on small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little at a time.
Don’t think about the future, not even about what could happen tomorrow. Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make some soup.
Do you see that?
You are moving forward step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Get some rest.
Compliment yourself.
Take another step.
Then another one.
You won’t notice, but your steps will get bigger and bigger.
Time will come when you can think about the future without crying.
(Elena Mikhalkova, ′′ The Room of Ancient Keys ′′)

I don’t know if it’s just me, if it’s in part my dementia or if it’s just a sign of the times. It feels as though a major shift or change is happening, with me, within me, and all around me. A shift in thought process, in interactions, in the journey of life it feels like it is positive in nature, but while the shift happens it’s like you’re walking in quick sand. having the patience to allow things to unfold as they are meant to and enjoying the moments in the day and days along the way can be challenging, we have grown accustomed to trying to control everything in our lives and although that on many levels disappeared with the dementia diagnosis it still somehow can slip back in unless we can catch it and put it into check. This happens if we have done the hard work, the facing our fears, demons, traumas, taking responsibility for ourselves, for our actions, for our decisions, for our thoughts. Being able to let go of taking on the thoughts and actions of others, whether that is about something they have done and our reaction to it, or something we ourselves have done. Always do what you know in your heart to be best for you, let others respond as they need to, it may not be in ways you expect but their response are about them and things deep within themselves and have little to do with you, and although at times we want to try to make others understand that how they view or see something we did or said is not how it truly is for you, it is about them and not your responsibility and you cannot control another’s way of managing things you do.

I was reminded of this yesterday at a webinar on Mental Health and Dementia hosted by DAI, I had been struggling with the unexpected response from some on some recent decisions I had to make, and how my mindfulness and self care process and the ensuing decisions I made were not easily accepted by some. Yesterday reminded me though that those responses had little to do with me, but with them. I was in fact doing and taking those small steps to maintaining my well being. It is something I think we need to all be more accepting of , that sometimes people will do and make decisions that are in their best interest but may not line up with our view of what that would be, and most of us don’t want or wouldn’t others influencing our decisions, but rather have them respect our choices and support us in them. I am very very grateful that for the most part I have received the latter more than the former.

Although having a deeper understanding of self and taking stock, of how and what we allow in our space, changes we need to make, be it for the short term or longer it is not an easy journey to get to, but it is allowing me to take those deep breaths when I need to, to not let the need to control what or how the future unfolds but instead allowing it to be what it is meant to be. My Mother used to say everything that is meant for you will find it’s way if you just let it. I didn’t fully understand this for many years. There are times when it’s difficult, but being able to catch yourself and take those deep breaths indeed helps keep one in a calmer more peaceful existence.

Yesterday was a great day on many levels and difficult on many others. I had the honour of someone reaching out to me via video call and be with them during a very very difficult heartbreaking, tragic and sad time. It will stay with me forever, them being thousands of miles away, no ability to do more than be there, to be present with them, feeling helpless, yet somehow knowing that in my helplessness, I was helping and giving them exactly what they needed in their time of pain and grief.

After, it left me sad, for her, for her loss, for her unbearable heartbreak even for me, it was emotionally exhausting, and yet somehow along with the sadness and exhaustion was a sense of somehow being filled. By being allowed into her space through such a heartbreaking event, being with her as it unfolded, she had given me a gift. Sometimes the gifts we receive come through the darkest moments of others. I won’t tell you any details of what it was, for that is her story to tell, but I will say that it reminded me of how relationships change and grow and ebb and flow, it reminded me of how little control we actually have. It is a snapshot of time that will be with me forever. And it reminded that we have to treasure each moment, don’t worry about the hows or whys of what’s coming, life is fleeting, life is beautiful and life is not meant to be controlled, it is meant to be lived, with all it’s up and downs, all it’s twists and turns.

It reminded me that we can’t control the relationships we have, we can only be open to them, to try our best to maintain, to not judge, to not take the decisions others make personally, to cherish those who chose to stand beside you through the ups and downs and always leave room for those who may stray, or step away to come back in, without judgement. Sometimes we don’t need to understand or know everything sometimes we just have to be accepting.

So this morning I am up early, listening to Lauren Daigle, her music is good for my soul. A little taste is below.

So take the small steps until you’re ready to leap, or take no steps for a time, be willing to be still what’s meant to be will find a way. And cherish it all with every breath you take.

This is the link to a song that seemed very fitting

By Chrissy's Journey

I am an advocate for people with dementia in Canada and globally, having been diagnosed with younger onset dementia myself a few years ago.

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