You are the best dementia fighter I know. Dementia doesn’t define you, it’s just (a small) part of your story. Your love and determination to live life, your best life, make that so. But even the best fighter has a bad day here and there. Even Muhammad Ali lost the occasional fight (five, I think.)
There will be days like today when dementia sucks especially bad. When a laugh seems impossible and even a smile feels like a bridge entirely too far. Days when, albeit temporarily, you lose sight of who you are and all the things that make you uniquely….you.
You didn’t feel like fighting today, but you did anyway. I don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes but I do know how seeing you fight your dementia, every day but especially on days like today, makes me feel. Inspired. Proud. And thankful.
I’m inspired to make the most of my clear minded and able bodied day. I’ll make sure my family knows how much I love them. And I’ll work on stuff that matters (hokey, I know but that’s what you always did.) I’ll get outside. I might even exercise (maybe.) I know I can’t fix it when you’re down but I won’t leave a stone unturned in helping you have a better day tomorrow. When I think I’ve turned the last one, I’ll find a few more look under.
You’ve given me everything and today you gave me this inspiration. You’ve set buckets of good examples for me along the way, but this might just be the best of them all.
Can the toll dementia takes have a silver lining? There are lots of days that I think the answer is no, but today isn’t one of them. Because of your inspiration.
I’ve always been proud to have you as my mother. Maybe you forget sometimes these days, but let me tell you why.
Your friendships make me proud. I know you know this because you tell me constantly, but you have wonderful, caring friends–from every stage of your life going all the way back to grade school in Grafton. These friendships are a testament to you–your love and empathy and care and fun. And they make me proud.
The career you had makes me proud, too. More specifically, your legacy as a nurse. I don’t think you were Florence Nightingale (not getting carried away here) but I’ve seen the impact you’ve made. Time and time again people connect the dots that I am ‘Rosemary’s son’ and proceed to tell me how you cared for their spouse or parent or friend. They remember you and remember your care–after all these years. I hope I can look back on my career and see that I’ve made an impact like that. Your career definitely makes me proud.
Then there’s your willingness to try new things. It’s always made me proud. I’ll never forget the day shortly after dad died that you shoved your fear aside and drove through Boston to get me to hockey on time. Some people are terrified of heights or they’re claustrophobic. You were petrified of driving in the ‘city’. But you did it. For me. And it snowballed from there. White water rafting. Lobstering. Hiking. Painting. Your “I’ll try anything at least once” attitude has always made me proud.
Woven through all of this is an unmistakable common thread. Showing love, gratitude, compassion, care, and hospitality to family, friends and strangers alike–and loving life along the way. You brighten every room you walk into. For all the right reasons.
This is what defines you. Not dementia. And I couldn’t be more proud to call you Mom.
You’re the best dementia fighter I know.
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