Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happiness is a Strange Bird

Sometimes I get happy at the strangest moments. Today at lunch, my aunt's eyes were filled with tears because behind me someone on the Alz. Unit had messed in the dining room floor. Shortly thereafter, another elderly gentleman decided to streak around the unit.

My mother tried to understand the meaning of the word haiku and she thought Uncle John was babbling when in fact he made perfect sense and was doing wordplay off the word thank you....

But, I was holding my Uncle's hand, and the three siblings were together, despite the rather absurd circumstances. And I got a big dose of energy and a "well done" feeling from the Universe because my brave little band of old folks did not let old age or dementia keep us from this gathering.

And, I also really got it that I don't have to "shelter" Mom and my Aunt from John's dementia-they can go visit or not, but my job is to facilitate, hug when one of them needs it, and that is it. I cannot save them from old age and death. Which is, believe it or not, what I've been trying to do.

This was the testing of an idea I had a few days ago-that maybe the best way to relate to older folks is with energy and few words...much like I do with the dogs. Because-with the elderly, words get a little jumbled and cause frustration. I may be on to something.

And equally exciting, is how that makes me feel-happy, connected, like after a good dog training session. I'm really looking forward to bringing the dogs to the unit-because I understand now how/why they connect and what true good it does for those people. And my hope is, the little old people and the dogs will teach me to speak the same language they do.

6 comments:

Forever Young said...

you've learnt like me-to pick yourself up and get on with life, even though you know something's gonna knock you down again. they are so lucky to have you. how old are the three musketeers?

Debra Kay said...

Uncle John is 71, Mom is 74 (to my 47 which is kind of cool). The third musketeer is sometimes my Aunt, who is 76 or my Dad who is 81.

I got scolded today because I wanted to use the chainsaw (which I paid for half of) but Daddy and the neighbor wanted to chop up some of my downed trees-a man party of sorts. I finally just said they could chop down what they wanted, I'd have the tree company come get the rest and I'd stay out of the manly business of chainsaws.

It's a generational (Daddy) and cultural (Sol is from Guatamala) thing...But I'm learning to just things go.

Michele said...

It really is hard to keep picking ourselves up off the floor. Last week, we had three potential buyers for our condo. This week, we have none. I got a call around 1:30 from the third and final drop out and it was like a kick in the face. I'm not even sure how to put one foot in front of the other and go on after being kicked in the condo selling face over and over again. But somehow I'll survive, right?

Debra Kay said...

Survival is the first key to success.

Prozacville said...

A wonderful post. Like a Flannery O'Connor short story or something, but real life. Whatever that means.

Time for bed....(With Snuffles lying on the couch licking her hindpaw before settling down to doze again...)

Debra Kay said...

Thanks.
I'm glad you have Snuffles to keep the world on its proper course.