Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. –Mark 11:24
Happy Thanksgiving Eve, friends and family! 🙂 Can’t you just smell the cornbread and turkey already??? We have an infinite number of things about which to be thankful and I count you as one of my biggest. 🙂 Have a happy and blessed weekend!
Just thinking about Beowulf on the way to work today and I listened to my podcasts….
I know…I have an odd mind and an unusual taste in subjects. Near the end of this ancient poem/story is an amazingly shoehornable portion of Beowulf fighting a dragon. Here is the Cliff’s Notes account of the one scene:
“A fiery dragon has become enraged because a lone fugitive has inadvertently discovered the dragon’s treasure-trove and stolen a valuable cup. The dragon terrorizes the countryside at night, burning several homes, including Beowulf’s. Led by the fugitive, Beowulf and eleven of his men seek out the dragon’s barrow. Beowulf insists on taking on the dragon alone, but his own sword, Naegling, is no match for the monster. Seeing his king in trouble, one thane, Wiglaf, goes to his assistance. The others flee to the woods. Together, Wiglaf and Beowulf kill the dragon, but the mighty king is mortally wounded. Dying, Beowulf leaves his kingdom to Wiglaf and requests that his body be cremated in a funeral pyre and buried high on a seaside cliff where passing sailors might see the barrow. The dragon’s treasure-hoard is buried with him. It is said that they lie there still.”
Doesn’t that just scream dementia to you???
(Cricket sounds are deafening).
Work with me here, friends…
10 Ways Beowulf Reminds Me of Dementia
- “Death is not easily escaped, try it who will; but every living soul among the children of men dwelling upon the earth goeth of necessity unto his destined place, where the body, fast in its narrow bed, sleepeth after feast.” ‒ ‘Beowulf’–Talking about an understatement! More than an ogre or a dragon, this disease, as of 11/24/21, has no hero. The best way to fight this monster is to avoid it altogether! Good news: The road around the ogre and past the dragon’s den is wide enough for many to pass. It is estimated that between 33 and 40 percent of cases of dementia can be prevented! What is good for the heart is good for the brain (and likewise). Blood pressure, blood sugar, eating right, exercising, managing stress, sleeping enough…all can help us sneak around a sleeping ogre or a Dane-eating dragon. Learn more on the Alzheimer’s Association website.
- Ogres are more than a nuisance…they seek to destroy. Their apparent motive in the poem: They hate joy, frivolity and music.- Doesn’t it seem like to you like it does me that dementia hates. It just hates. Mom was minding her own business when it came along and took from her her song…her beloved piano,…among everything else. Mom loved walking. It made her fall over and over. She loved food…now she gets mush. She loved visiting with us. Now her voice is gone. Terrible foe…bitter. An ogre/dragon combo. 🙁
- After Beowulf killed the ogre Grendel, the ogre’s mom shows up and kills an elder. Beowulf tries to use the same sword that killed Grendel…and it fails. He grabs a magic sword and uses it to separate her head from the rest of her. – When you start down the dementia town…perhaps we can call it Ogreville…you will soon see that meds work…until they don’t. It is a constant guessing and changing and trying new things. The problem is they only address symptoms. Aducanumab and similar are promising otherwise, but even they will break like a Beowulf sword if used wrong or too late. We need to keep fighting for new and better weapons!
- “The fire-dragon had destroyed with flames the stronghold of the people, the land bordering the sea, the fortress of the nation. For that the war-king, the prince of the Weders, planned terrible vengeance.” -‘Beowulf’.- Anger is a natural response to the destruction brought by our monsters. It destroys sooooo much. But hold fast as best you can. Fight the battle with others too. Minus a cure-bearing dragon-slayer, your loved one like mine will be defeated…but others are in danger too. Keep fighting to #EndALZ after you grieve for a season. Start a support group. Donate funds. Help your friend with care. Talk to your representatives or advocate somehow. Help your local Area Agency on Aging non-profits. Don’t get mad…don’t get even…just help us win.
- “It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning. For every one of us, living in this world means waiting for our end. Let whoever can win glory before death. When a warrior is gone, that will be his best and only bulwark”.― Seamus Heaney, Beowulf– Just another sober reminder…nobody is getting out of here alive. Make peace with God and your friends and family, dementia or not.
- “They arrived with their mail shirts Glittering, silver-shining links clanking an iron song as they came. Sea-weary still, they set their broad, Battle-hardened shields in rows/ Along the wall , then stretched themselves on Herot’s benches. Their armor rang; Their ash-wood spears stood in a line, Gray-tipped and straight: the Geats’ war-gear Were honored weapons.” Page 33– This reminded me that, while we are still a defeated foe against these monsters, there are soldiers everywhere working on a cure. I visited with several folks at Washington University in the Memory and Aging Project. I attend many, many webinars from other Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers and other organizations. There are some of the brightest, most amazing folks fighting this enemy, dementia. Their weapons are amazing! The PET scan and the MRI scan were both magic, in my book. Other weapons are being deployed everywhere. Eventually we will find the right sword to take down the foe.
- “Hanging high From the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster’s Arm, claw, and shoulder and all.” Page 49– Beowulf killed the Ogre…but the dragon did him in. (Sorry for the spoiler…) Recognize and celebrate victories however it makes you happy. Do it every day. There may be fewer victories to hang up, but drill deeper. There is always something to celebrate. Oh…and some sweet day when we find a cure, I will be the first to hang a dragon’s head…perhaps represented as a white flower from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Promise Garden, on my wall.
- The team that beat the dragon was comprised of Beowulf and eleven of his men. Ten saw the dragon and headed for the hills, leaving only the hero and his co-battler Wiglaf. Know that this may indeed happen. Many came to the dragon, but couldn’t handle it. They were likely there for many battles and they may be there again later…but they hit the road when it got rough. Do your very best to not be mad or resent them. It is a scandalously scary foe. You know that and I do too. Just forgive and love and forget. Ask for help where you can. Find small tasks that will help. Maybe they bring supplies to the battle? Maybe they cheer? Maybe they fund new weapons? Don’t get upset, just offer grace and forgiveness just like it was offered to you and don’t give up on those who may only seem to have given up on you.
- When someone dies of dementia, it is like the last copy of Beowulf being burned. Millions are dying and archives of wonderful memories are dying with them. Write down the stories. Explain the pictures. Take some video. Write a journal or a blog. Don’t let the disease take more than it should! What do you think it would cost for someone to buy this video from me and delete it? There isn’t enough money available…
- “Hanging high From the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster’s Arm, claw, and shoulder and all.” Page 49– Beowulf killed the Ogre…but the dragon did him in.- I am tired. I want a victory trophy soon. The dragon is still killing and destroying everything in sight. We have to beat this thing. Clinical studies are everywhere. Donated brains are desperately needed. Keep fighting, friends. I will too. We need to kill this dragon and finally #EndALZ so that, in 1000 years people look back at it as a long, lost, sad thing that used to happen. The time is now. Be my Beowulf, and I will be your Wiglaf.
Update: I had a very nice visit with mom yesterday. While they are one-sided, I suppose, I got my point across that she is loved, appreciated, and prayed for. She was more alert than is typical, which is nice. 🙂 It is such a blessing and worthy of thankfulness that I can still tell her this all the time. While it is a long goodbye, at least it isn’t in an instant…and for that, I give Thanks to my Lord.
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple Update- I am just starting raising funds for my Runnin’ Til I’m Purple II event in June. I am looking for corporate sponsors and hoping my gazillion subscribers donate again this year. 🙂 I am finally back at my running after a month’s hiatus. I feel good and have a lot of training to do in less than 8 months! Thank you very much in advance! 🙂
Technical update: I am working on fixing my subscription issue. My newsletter was scrapped by MailChimp because it grew beyond the free account and the paid account is $100/month. I am looking hard at some cheaper options that I can afford. Until then, please share my stuff on social media and point people to our sight. If people need some free help with dementia, please feel free to share my cell 417-955-2513
Thank you all! A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!!!