“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.” –Revelation 11:17
“Those who are kind benefit themselves,
but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” – Proverbs 11:17
And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers. –Mark 11:17
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. –John 11:17
Note: I include a Bible verse or two (or 4) not because they always have anything directly to do with the topic at hand, but I pick verses that have the same chapter and verse as the day of the month. My point: The Bible is amazing and diverse and worth your read…daily. 🙂 There are more pieces of wisdom than there are stars in the heavens. Mine them like a precious jewel! Like it says in the front of my great grandpa’s Bible, “The secret to a good life: Find a time and place t pray. Read your Bible every day.”
I just wanted/needed to break from the only Monday and Friday posting schedule to add a bonus piece today. 🙂
Two things that make this timely:
Firstly, tonight is our monthly Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group meeting. It will run from 6pm until 7pm or whenever everyone is done. 🙂 It is still virtual in keeping with the physical distancing policies of our agency and the Association. If you would like to hop on and share, just listen, or anything in between, shoot me an email to email@example.com or call/text me on my cell (417-955-2513). Normally our groups are local, but the pandemic has unleashed us all to make our groups available to anyone through Zoom-rific technology. Let me know…we would love to have you.
Second, and also important in my heart: the stars.
If you haven’t heard, the Leonid Meteor shower peaked early this morning, but will continue for a few days. It is very dark with a slivered moon, so the viewing is fantastic! Here are my random thoughts on meteor showers with dementia in mind…like it always is:
- They have long been a part of my life– When I was a kid, a few times mom and dad took us out in the country to watch meteor showers. I remember being groggy, getting dragged out of my Dukes of Hazzard dream state just before jumping the dirt pile in the General Lee, put in our Bronco (or maybe it was a different car of my youth), and heading where the lights aren’t bright… so we could watch the sky. Later, while my own family lived in a nearby lake community, we would all lay on the trampoline in the back yard and watch the same meteor shower in awe and amazement. It is really sentimental to me to pass on the many traditions of my youth, and this one is a gem. I never want to forget them and, if/when I develop this disease, I want my family to remind me over and over.
- Distractions– To fully enjoy the meteor shower, you NEED to leave behind the light pollution of the city. You need to find a backwoods area, perhaps on the lake or river somewhere…and avoid the distractions our man-made lights bring. You know…hanging out with a loved one with dementia tends to be easily messed up by distractions as well. Some things cannot be avoided, but the ones that can be dodged should be. Try to not focus on what is missing, but instead what remains. Don’t ask questions or talk at them…talk with them. This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but I assure you it is not. Instead of the sentence with “Remember when we used to watch the meteors?”, try “Oh mom, we used to sooo enjoy watching the meteors. Thank you for taking me and teaching me to appreciate them. You are a great mom.” Distractions brought by confusion or frustration replaced by complements and love.
- Quality is sometimes as important than quantity– This morning I got up late. I was in the 5 O’clock hour when I started watching…and the sun’s glow wasn’t too far away. I ONLY got to see 2 meteors…but they were amazing nevertheless. I was so eager to see them that, when I got to, they were amazing. If we expect too much from our loved one, we miss out on the gems they provide. Mom still smiles on our Zoom calls. She barely (if at all) recognizes that we are there…but I feel in my heart that the small smirk is her saying all is ok. Setting correct expectations is very important…and enjoying what you get is too.
- Life is a meteor– Whether or not you have a loved one with the disease…life seems to be in a hurry. If we are not careful, we will only see it out of the corner of our eye.
- Soak it in while you can– I remember like it was yesterday hearing my kids grumble a little the first time we dragged them outside to watch the meteor shower. We stumbled our way to the trampoline, flashlights struggling to push back the darkness. The sound of 1,000 varieties of insects apparent. An occasional hoot owl made her presence known. It seems like we saw a possum or an armadillo that time too…but the stars were the star of the show…and they waved at their little cousins flying by at a million miles an hour. “Where are they???s” and “Can I go in?”s were replaced promptly by “Ohhhh…there’s one!!!!!”s “Wooooo!”s and “Wow…did you see THAT one!”s. The smells of the night…probably the evergreen tree wafting by come to mind too…a natural smell whatever it was… FOREVER etched in my brain…and I hope in my kiddos’ brains as well. They are all adults now…2 in college and one married and teaching. You only get so long to share such. Then the time, like a meteor, poofs away. Please take advantage of every moment with your loved one too. Learn from them. Love them. Don’t give up no matter the hardship. They need you and you need them. Time is short…then it’s gone.
- Despite what I said earlier, quantity helps too– There are about 10-15 meteors/hour right now in this shower. One every 5 minutes, give or take. It takes an investment in time to see even a couple of them. I watched a shower one time that was 10-20x that figure…and it was even more awe-inspiring. You almost felt “out of control” as if you are in control anyway… In dementia, we can do quite a bit, on paper, by ourselves. I have been fortunate to be on TV almost 10 times this year and radio several more…but that is a micro-drop in a very large bucket compared to just what the 7500 in our little community could do. Advocate. Call. Love. Help. Serve. Do all you can. It will take billions of bucks and millions of folks to #endALZ once and for all…but we can do it! There is strength in numbers…
- Learning via star– The stars are like cosmic evangelists screaming in every tongue that we are not all that big…and that there is One bigger. The Bible, in Romans Chapter 1 and other places, tells us that we can see that there is a God through His creation. The stars are a great teacher. Dementia is a lesser, but great teacher too. You will learn about your loved one and you will learn about yourself every day in caring for them. You will also learn about the much-needed grace that all of us need in the process. Be a good student and soak it in, please. 🙂
I would encourage you to watch the stars tonight really late…or wake up early and take a look. You will be amazed. 🙂 If you miss it this week, there are other showers throughout the year. The Perseid shower in the summer is amazing. Here is a schedule: Link
Today is Day 250 of being locked out of the nursing home. A quarter of the way to 1,000. 🙁 Stay strong, folks. Help is on the way…
Forever gazing heavenward,