In These “Interesting Times,” the Joy of Not Knowing
An Unexpected Gift of Having a Parent with Dementia
As many of you know, my dad is moving through the various stages of Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia. And therefore, those of us who are in his close circle, are on quite a journey, too.
I was raised by a mom and dad who did the best they could with what they had as very young parents trying to figure out the world and their place in it. They had challenges stemming from their own families and upbringing. I have much understanding now about that and compassion for my entire family lineage, as perhaps you do too with yours.
Overall, my parents were pretty pessimistic, negative, judgmental, critical, and regularly consumed a steady diet of news. They believed what they saw and heard without question. No wonder they were stressed! That definitely did not help matters around the house. To have a father consumed by fear and worry and be constantly sending me and my sister negative messages about how the world is an unsafe place to be a girl was not what I would wish upon anyone. It was not a relaxed, happy environment for a child to feel nurtured, safe, and to grow.
Fast forward to today. I spoke to my dad on the phone. He lives in an assisted care/rehab facility with many others with similar physical and emotional needs. I was noticing the dramatic progression of his mental illness just since the last time we talked.
Less and less makes any sense in this reality or has truth to it. Past conversations were a lucid mix of this reality and alternate realities. It was a fascinating Alice in Wonderland trip of trying to figure out “what’s real.” Most of our talks would be about his symptoms, delusions, fears, and worries about the world. He would always reference things he’d heard in the news that brought up anxiety. I would kindly suggest that maybe if the news stressed him out so much, maybe he shouldn’t watch it or take a break from it.
This conversation, however, was very different. He laughed about who knows what, was joyfully congratulating me on “how hard I’d worked to become a cowgirl on a dude ranch” (!!!) and asked if I was still playing my didgeridoo. While I’m not a cowgirl (okay, maybe at heart—I love the land, animals, and a romantic country song), I did take his question as a little nudge from the Universe that this might be a good time to pick up my didge and play again. I replied, “Yes, dad, I do. It’s just been a while!” I’m always in awe of the things he does remember these days.
There was one thing dramatically missing from our conversation. I was so surprised, but delighted. We had an entire conversation that never included talk about anything in the news! That was a first. I thought to myself “Wow, maybe he doesn’t know what’s going on or not going on for the first time in his life. What a tremendous gift.” To be here in the state of Washington and not know what everyone is talking about is actually rather extraordinary.
Instead, we talked about his hallucinations (I’m not so sure this life isn’t the grandest one of all!) and sat in silence together when he couldn’t find any words or “lost his thoughts.” That’s not such a bad thing after all.
Life is always reminding us to enjoy this precious, beautiful moment in front of us. Maybe for a moment in time, I can let go into the dream or fantasy of being that cowgirl on a dude ranch. I hope the food is good there and the men are nice. And I will pet the cows and look deeply into their sweet brown eyes and tell them they are loved. And I’m quite sure that’s all the news they need to know in their day.
Helpful Reflection Questions for Your Journey:
- How would your day feel and be different if you, for at least a little while, didn’t know about anything that’s going on outside of your body’s energy field (not as an act of shutting anything out, ignorance, selfishness, or being out of touch, but as a practice of self-care, rejuvenation, and allowing yourself to be as centered and rooted as possible to better handle the ups and downs of life)?
- What if you didn’t watch the news or pull up a web site today? What if?
- As a gift to your body and psyche, can you take a little time to allow yourself to get excited about a dream you have (that is perhaps already taking place in a parallel dimension)? Take some time to focus on what you love about yourself and life on planet Earth.
- Can you take a walk today and get some fresh air, or spend time with a tree or a body of water? Nature reminds us how to unwind, return to uncomplicated simplicity, peace, and relaxation.
As always, you are loved,
P.S. Here are three of my bestsellers that are super supportive tools to help you re-center, access your inner peace, calm, and anchor high healing vibes for yourself and for the benefit of all. You deserve to do something good, positive, and caring for yourself today:
Best Selling Meditations and Teachings - Please share the love with others you care about.
I have newsletters going out every month. Have you signed up yet to receive the emailed goodies? Join our loving community for inspiration and my FREE "I Love You When You Are…" meditation to support you in a relaxed life of peace and well-being!