Thank you to my friend Julie Hayden for the above piece by the ever lovely Gail Gregory. Both are great advocates and do so much for bringing awareness.
This should be the basis for a campaign on dementia, it highlights so many of the very valid things that so many advocates have been trying to get the broader community to understand about dementia rather than fear it.
YouQuest Calgary is also showcasing how valuable the connections of bringing people with dementia is and how much their quality of life is improved by allowing them and giving them the opportunities to try new things, learn new things, be out and about having fun in a safe environment. Quality of life is so important no matter what you may or may not be afflicted with, people with dementia have been sidelined, sidestepped, ignored and locked away for too long, creating symptoms of the illness to worsen. This has allowed the fear and stigma remain. 30 years of advocating as seen only small measurable change. But we all keep trying, persistence will prevail, the numbers of people and ages of people being diagnosed keeps increasing and so eventually it will force changes and viewpoints. The advocates who were trailblazers who we all still look to for inspiration, who gave so much of themselves we will forever be grateful to, and to honour them is to carry on the work they started.
Sitting at a time when much is wrong in the world, where supply issues, housing issues, addiction, homelessness, health care systems collapsing, one wonders if the realm of needs, the voices of those living with dementia will be drowned out. It is a valid and real concern for many. Will we receive the care we need, will there be effort put into the rehabilitation resources that we need, will our lives matter? As much as I have no answers to these very real concerns, the one thing I do now is that we must not stop we must not give up, we must raise our collective voices to a new level.
So a big shout out to all who are continuing to keep using their voices for the betterment of all, and to all the organizations and groups who are truly making a difference to those living with dementia in real time in real ways.
Below you will find a piece from the Ravenwolfs Collection, and a link to find more: I follow and read a lot from her collection as so much of it feels like me. This piece definitely describes where I sit these days.
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She’s the strongest person everyone knows,
A beautiful soul who always seems to be smiling and laughing..
But they know what she wants them to know, they see what she wants them to see.
She accepts and loves people for who they are, without judgement or expectation.
Her battles are the quiet ones no one knows about, behind closed doors and silent tears.
She cries from inexplicable sadness, momentary angst and absolute weariness.
Not the sort of tired that sleep can satisfy, but the deeper kind- a soulful fatigue that needs much more than rest.
She seeks no pity from those in her life, for she is the strong one..
Because sometimes, being strong is her only choice.
She loves with all her heart, lives every day to its fullest and gives everything her all.
She’s learned to temper her expectations and depend on herself.
Strong willed, sassy and feisty, she’s the woman that people never forget..and she makes sure her voice is heard.
Not just to talk, but because her words have meaning and her thoughts matter.
She’s not a candle in the wind, she’s a roaring wildfire.
It doesn’t mean she doesn’t fight her internal battles of insecurities, fears and worry, only that she knows her strength and never gives up.
She’s not a fighter because she always wins, but because she never stays down.
She’s okay with being a beautiful mess and a wonderful disaster,
Because she’s not defined by all the things others focus on-flaws and imperfections.
She knows who she is, what she wants and she won’t stop until she’s happy.
She’s the strongest of women, but not in the way that people think-
She’s tough in heart and hardy of soul.
She loves when she shouldn’t, more than they’ll ever love her back..
And yet, she still keeps pouring out her heart.
That’s the beauty and blessing of a strong and soulful woman.
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So today as I ready myself for a long Doctors appointment, I am for her a beautiful mess these days, but I am here, somedays better than others, life has changed me yet again, life changes happening again, ebb and flow, but still doing the best I can at each moment in each day. perhaps that is enough, perhaps that should always be enough, because if we allow ourselves to feel, to laugh to cry, then we are living, and that is enough.