So this is the last thing I will say on this;
Wednesday morning I woke up and checked Facebook (the perils of a social media addiction), the previous day I had posted what I had thought was a funny picture of Kim Kardashians daughter North West, I wrote a caption “my face when someone is offended that martha doesn’t remember them.” It was followed by hashtags #wellduh #shehasalzheimers. It made me chuckle, until Wednesday morning.
I don’t know who posted it, I don’t even recall word for word what it said.. but I still feel what it did to me. Because what it resonated in me was disappointment in myself, I felt lousy, I felt small and I felt useless. Sitting on the edge of my bed reading these words was like a slow knife pushing through to my heart. All of my insecurities unravelled in that moment. Then and now; I know this was just the push on an already crappy few days/weeks. I was humiliated, who had read this? Is that what people think? My over active brain started to spiral down. My page, my sharing was never intended to offend anybody ever and now I have. I cycled through emotions quickly, anger, frustration, sadness and then I had desperate longing to let that person know who wrote the comment that it is never in my nature to offend you with my posts. There is no PR team, it is just me, a struggling daughter losing my mother trying to make the best of the situation. I am trying to use my page, my writing as a tool to heal and grow. Studies show that carers in any capacity have a lower health standard and should find healthy outlets to explore emotions. This is what I am doing. This is a good example of how I am doing that, I am sharing, I am letting it out, because if I bottle it up. I lose it. I can’t do my job, I can’t care, and everyone loses.
So my message to that person and for any other person who might want to provide feedback; BE KIND. Do it with kindness, do it in a way that the person won’t feel humiliated or embarrassed. Private message that page, carefully construct your sentences, ask yourself how you would feel when you read that message. Would it make you feel empowered to read it, would it make you feel like praising that person in thanks..? Ask questions like what is that person going through? What am I going through? On a scale of how offensive is it, how should my reaction be? How does it offend me? Know your audience and act from your heart. And if you did that, if you truly answered all those and felt good that your feedback would uplift, empower and help.. then Thank you, because perspective is everything and you are offering yours.
And for the person that specifically provided the feedback that so unceremoniously unravelled me.. I truly hope you don’t read this. I hope you removed yourself from my page. But most importantly for you, I want you to know.. there are so many other things you should be offended or disgusted by, my survival of alzheimers is not one.
From my healing heart,
Tonight I cried, really cried; sad, sorrowful tears.
I knew they were coming, I had preparing all week for this moment.
This precise moment when everything would tumble from me and I would get lost in my loss.
I cried for the loss of my Father.
I cried for the loss of my Mother.
And then, after I had cried my mournful tears of grief.
I cried because I’ve lost myself.
I found this letter today I had written in January 2012 to Martha.
I miss you. I’ve been reading a book on Alzheimers and I am sad that you have to go through it. But I love you and I know when you forget me I’ll still love you and you’ll still love me. But that’s a long way away. Remember I’m always here when you need me and I might get frustrated sometimes but that’s because I’m scared. But every day I get braver. I put in this picture of the taj, I’m glad you stayed with me the night before, thats when you explained what is happening to your brain, we cried together then because we both knew one day we would lose each other but we know we will always love each other.
I sat at a table today surrounded by greatness, I felt child-like and small, surrounded by lives that have been lived for more than 60 years. I sat and listened as stories and memories were shared like currency and I was envious. I was envious because I want this but I must be patient; my time will come when I too sit at a table of old souls and share my memories and lessons of life.
I sat and listened as your lay your life in front of me, I was silenced by your words, not because I was scared, hurt or sad but because the force in which power emanated from you was so powerful it left me speechless. Today I learnt many lessons from you, I listened, I absorbed. I wasn’t silent because I had nothing to say, I was silent because I was eager to learn.
I listened today and I learnt about truth for the first time in my 30 years. Isn’t that a funny notion to finally learn the meaning of truth at 30? Today you taught me that there are two different truths to live by, one is the absolute unwavering truth. The actual events past/present/future that cannot and will not change no matter what you do. The other is the truth that sets you free. Today as I drove home I ruminated over the truth that sets you free. The truth that has the power to change your own world by believing in it. The truth that positivity exists, that negativity is harmful, that too much sugar is bad for you and that death is eminent, but the biggest truth I learnt; the truth that enabled me to walk away with a smile was the truth of true gratitude for life. Today I will not take another day of my life for granted. Days will be hard but I already know that, today you gave me the gift that my life is valuable.
I listened to you and watched you today, the words and wisdom you wanted to impart on your granddaughter, I watched her and wondered if she knew the gift that she was being given in this moment, I wanted to whisper in her ear, take the lesson now, take it now and blossom with it because it won’t be until you are my age that you will know it’s true value.
I sat and listened with open heart and open mind today. I felt honored that you shared your final journey with me, even though this was not the last time we will meet, it was with such pride that you shared with me how your body would leave this earth and whilst I was struck by a profound amount of sadness I was filled with love, that you as a woman I knew only as a child was speaking to me now as an adult and sharing with me the most intimate of details. I watched as you described your final moments on this earth, I prayed silently that they would not be soon but as you explained everything to me, the love of your life oozed from your body. You spoke so fondly of yourself, so kindly, so highly. We were speaking of death and yet I was envious. I am envious that you know how much you are loved.
I, as a woman of nearly 30 am still learning, I am still in my infancy of emotional maturity, but today as I listened, you spoke to me, I listened as a woman to another woman who is the greatest inspiration of my life. I listened with a type of lust for life as you shared with me your lessons, maybe you shared them on purpose but I think perhaps they were always there I just wasn’t listening properly.
Today I learnt lessons from you that I was not expecting to learn.
Today I learnt the meaning of truth, pride and love.
Today I learnt to listen.