Alzheimer's blog

Dementia caregivers celebrate the imperfect us

By Angela Lunde December 24, 2011

For the past several days I've been contemplating (more than usual) what to say as we leave this year behind. I've read every one of your comments from the last 4 weeks and re-read some from months past. Your words are filled with every imaginable experience, opinion and emotion. In a sense, you shared your "secrets".

Yet, the truth is, in our day-to-day interactions, we rarely express our secrets, all of our true emotions, or let people see our real life or self — for acceptable reasons. But it happens here on this blog — many of you boldly admitting, owning and sharing thoughts, desires, insecurities, pain, embarrassment, vulnerability, alienation, fear, dreams and more.

As a caregiver to someone with a dementia, most of you will have many of these emotions and it can be the negative ones that consume us. So, the question isn't whether or not you (we) experience fear, pain and other emotions. The more important question is: How do you move through these emotions in an honest way so they don't paralyze, break or keep you from being who you really are?

The way we transform our insecurities, sorrow and other difficult emotions is by admitting them, owning and expressing them. This is what takes place here by so many of you. When you open up and reveal fear and pain, or the ways in which you feel flawed or imperfect, a piece of the struggle goes out of life. A door is opened for hope, joy and relief to enter.

Something else extraordinary happens — you make it safe for others to reciprocate and share their own stories of struggle. You reclaim what's important in our life — to be a part of the (imperfect) human family. Through this blog community I witness a beautiful synergy between the sharing of our truth and space for compassion and happiness to enter. I see a place where we learn about others, and at the same time we learn more about ourselves.

So, I decided what I want to say as we leave 2011 is best expressed by Bonnie (blog contributor):

"Cheers to each of you ... some of the nicest people I would love to meet"

Dec. 24, 2011