dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

Dementia Diary 26: Time to remember

on December 7, 2012

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My Scottish blood hates having to pay first-class postage for Christmas cards. So often, though, I’m at the last minute and some simply have to go first class.

I always vow I’ll get them done early enough to go second class next year.

My husband has always done his own cards, even before we were married. I was used to the Christmas cards being an evening set aside, the table cleared, and an opportunity for memories and good conversation. As a second wife, being excluded from the process of ‘his’ cards always made me felt less part of his life, his circle.

This year, it causes other problems.

He has been talking about doing his Christmas cards for a while. For the past few years he has bought many more cards and stamps than were needed – no doubt forgetting that he already had an ample supply. So I volunteered to bring what was left from last year in the Christmas box.

There were plenty. But would he remember who to send them to? I printed off last year’s list (he had asked me to type up who he’d got cards from the previous year) and brought it.

But I’m not convinced. Not convinced that this is something he can do this year. But he has assured me – once I found his address book – that he wanted to do it himself.

We are told we must respect dementia patients’ dignity and ensure as much independence as possible. So I left the cards and the list and the address book in his room. I suggested I could pick them up next Friday and we could put stamps on and post them. I realise this is me being manipulative and controlling – giving me a way to find out how he’s managed, and be there to rescue him should he need it.

You see I know the language. I can even recognise the symptoms in myself. Including those of turning molehills into mountains!

Those of you who have had children are probably wagging your heads at me struggling with something so small and simple that you cracked with your children very early.

I have a lot to learn.

Text: “The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him” Psalm 32 verse 10b

Prayer: When life is unpredictable, like a minefield, Lord Jesus hold us close to You and help us to hang on to You in obedient trust.

Self-care suggestion: We need to recognise that we can’t control this illness or its symptoms. We can only control our own reactions to it – and the more peacefully we can do that, the better for us and our loved one. I confess freely I fail woefully here! But I’m learning it doesn’t help to beat myself up afterwards. ‘Take it to the Lord in prayer’ as the hymn says. Confess, say sorry (to God and your loved one if appropriate) and move on!.And every time it sidles back into your mind to nag at you, stamp your foot on it and remind yourself you are forgiven by God. And much loved.

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