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

November Winding Down

As November winds down and we head into the least month of 2022, which for so many seems to have been a difficult year. I think back to 2020 and then 2021, and how often we heard I can’t wait for this year to be over, and yet somehow 2022, seems to have been harder, more difficult for so many on deeply personal levels, so for many heading into the end of 2022, seems to be welcomed. I do however like to acknowledge how difficult the year has been, but I also like to sit and reflect on the beautiful and special moments. On all the ways so many people touched my life and brought joy to 2022 for me. I like to think about the people who made a difficult year by being part of my life, for things like an unexpected visit, an unexpected card in the mail “ just because”, phone calls, video calls, walks and talks, to travelling with me to help me honour my mom and my sister. These are all incredible moments shared, incredible gifts from the hearts of those who provided and took part. Those made the difficult and sad days of 2022 manageable.

It is about learning to honour both the good times and the board times, we were a generation taught to bury the hard and difficult and only focus and remember the good and happy, but if you learn to embrace both, with kindness to others and yourself, find ways to cherish and honour that both the good and the hard brought, our lives become richer.

Having Dementia, and I must say that somedays I marvel at with a lot of hard work, how stable and how slow I have managed to keep my progression. Vascular dementia usually goes in steps and you can maintain in any step for long periods of time ( years in fact), but it can also progress quickly, so I truly believe that with everything I have learnt by being involved in advocating and in research it has helped me remain as well functioning as I am. Although on a bad day, on a day where comprehending and communicating aren’t working I will tell you that those days when my brain is to fatigued to function well, that I hate my Dementia. But again, I try to focus on the many wonderful blessings it has brought me. Connections with others, who together we share so much, and although each one of us with our dementia is effected differently, many times we have many effects that are almost universal among those no matter the type of dementia.

So the gift of being able to share our journey with each other is such a blessing. My wish for 2023 is that no one has to sit at home feeling like they are the only one, that there is nothing they can do, my wish is that we can reach those people and open up this incredible place in the advocacy world, and in the peer to peer support, that all can feel the incredible blessings I have felt, that they can have the opportunity to learn as I have. As this month closes down, I am filled with hope, I am filled with the deepest gratitude. None of us know when or how long before our dementia means much of what we do will no longer be possible so I am trying to maintain as much as possible, busy stretches interspersed with restful periods. Staying connected, staying involved. I think that it is perhaps not unlike most people.

I was feeling as though I couldn’t manage the Christmas season this year, to many losses, but I actually am, I am just doing it differently, I do so much differently because of my dementia, so doing Christmas differently is something that is ok for me, it is about not focusing on “ Christmas “ so much but rather focusing on the people who I miss, honouring their memories, giving room to think about them and all the special ways they filled my life, “ making room for them at the table”, as the saying goes, rather than being sad, yes their will be those moments, yes there will be tears, but those will come by allowing myself to celebrate them. I thought I wouldn’t / couldn’t bring myself to decorate this year, but changing how and what and doing it differently has allowed me to spend this weekend decorating, in a much more simplistic way, lost in beautiful thoughts, the first gift I ever received from my husband, the laughter of shopping with my mom and sister. The moments shared decorating, baking and cooking. Yes the decorating is scaled back, it is reflective of the time I find myself in. I have not committed to anything in particular for this Christmas and that’s how I want it to be, I will let it unfold as it is meant to, no pressure to be any certain way or place, just going to let it be. I think sometimes we think we have to force ourselves In order to get through it, I have learnt sometimes the best things to do is forget what everyone else thinks you should or shouldn’t do and just follow your instincts follow your ❤️, that can be the most healing thing we can do for ourselves.

I hope as we head into the last month of 2022, we all stop, breathe, reflect. So that maybe 2923 will unfold into a gentler, kinder, softer, year for all.

This is my tree this year. The Angel that sits atop the tree was given to me by my mom many many years ago, it is something I treasure.

By WWW.Chrissy's

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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