(I digress from my stories to bring you this important advice…yet again!)
Sometimes the gifts of life come to us in unusual and challenging ways but they do come. Helping to care for someone with early onset memory loss has gifted me with many heart=wrenching moments but there have also been such lovely moments of grace and light and one really big affirmation.
I spend a lot of time lifting up a lot of women with my words and well, my heart, and recently so many of them have told me they are “stuck”. Stuck in jobs, stuck in marriages, stuck where they live, stuck waiting for retirement…endless stucking…you get it. Getting unstuck involves a lot of risk, potential loss, painful regrets (don’t linger there!), and also the lovely unknown territory that lies ahead and so much excitement and growth that it’s hard to even write about it.
When I am with the person who has no short-term memory it is an absolute joy to watch her savoring a moment, just one precious moment, over and over again…because the second the moment is gone, it does not exist for her and she can relive it all over again. Think about that. Every moment that you sit and wait for the change you must initiate, that moment is lost forever unless your memory also disappears. You do not want this, but you know what you do want…so STOP WAITING.
I have lost count of all the cliffs I have jumped off of with my eyes closed and there are still so many mountain ranges to explore. Sometimes I have landed in a heap, other times I have landed on my feet and lurched forward without stopping. Not every change that involves risk leaves you unscathed but drinking the same glass of wine over and over for the rest of your life does not seem like living to me.
The beautiful thing about watching someone with memory loss when they are “in their moment” is that it helps me temporarily erase all the other terrifying moments I have been a part of that have gone before it…watching someone so young, or so old, become lost inside their own mind is beyond heartbreaking. When the moment of joy arrives, and they can experience it over and over again, it always makes me want to jump on top of a table and scream, “STOP WAITING”, to everyone who is.
And please remember as you prepare to jump that you are not alone. There are thousands of us right there, holding you up, and poised to catch you so your landing is gentle and you can fly forward into that dream you have been holding onto for so very long.