My Dementia Diary 72 – Slip Sliding Away

Lately, I’ve felt my life has, in the words of Paul Simon, been “slip sliding away..”

slip sliding away
slip sliding away
you know the nearer your destination
the more you’re slip sliding away

-lyrics from song by Paul Simon

There’s an inevitability about my wife’s deteriorating dementia, only one way this story will end. Sure, we all will die, but the process with her is agonizingly slow.

Yes, I do my best to make the most of the moments when she is happy, when life is simple, when it’s possible to forget what’s really going on. But, then she puts her pants on backwards, asks me where the bathroom is, or asks me if I’m married.

There’s a balance I struggle to find each day, somewhere between grief and joy, the reality that there’s a caregiving job to do and gratefulness for all the blessings of our shared life together.

Some things are “slip, sliding away,” but we can still have a perfect day.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: Almost Heaven, My Dementia Diary

Do It Anyway – Mother Teresa

I offer the following words from Mother Teresa as a source of inspiration in difficult moments-

for children in Calcutta:

              People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

-this version is credited to Mother Teresa. It is thought to have been based on The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent Keith.

 

You might also enjoy: A Child’s Smile , If

My Dementia Diary 71 – What We Might Have Been

in the blackness of eternal night
I wonder what we might have been

had fate not gulped us whole

what roads would have called us on
what waves swept us to other lands
what mountains echoed with our joy
what babies cooed, what friends cajoled
what rainbows chased
what dreams

had fate not gulped us whole

and yet, in soul’s silence
as I hold her hand so soft and still
I know peace

life lived
though briefly

together

tio stib

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Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY, 1875

One of two poems I turn to for inspiration, (the other is “If” by Rudyard Kipling)

Here’s a link to a powerful reading by Morgan Freeman.

 

If, by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling, 1895

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

When I’m down and feeling sorry for myself, “If” is one of the poems I return to for inspiration. Here are YouTube links to great readings of this poem, the first  by Holly Musgrove, the second by Sir Michael Caine-

Insert video link  to Holly Musgrove 

Insert video link to Sir Michael Caine

Life is a gift and a responsibility. Let’s make the most of it!

Tio Stib

Is There Anything Sweeter?

once
my life was a never ending to do list
every minute, every hour, every day
riding the nowhere train
always something to be done
another meeting, another deadline, another promise to keep

the notion of a nap was a faraway fantasy

then

I jumped off-

now

today’s calendar is blank
an empty page
uncluttered, unfettered, unpromised
the delicious bliss of nothingness

what to do on this sumptuously lazy afternoon

the easy chair beckons
a deep breath, a sigh, a shuttering of eyes

happy memory movies play across my mind

is there anything sweeter than an afternoon nap?

tio stib

You might also enjoy: Paddling a Submarine vs. Living an Authentic Life, Life Journey Poems & Prose

My Dementia Diary 70 – Death by a a Thousand Little Losses

It’s the little things that jar me , that pop the  denial bubble hiding my wife’s deteriorating dementia.

This morning, it was toothpaste.

When I handed her the tube, she didn’t know what to do with it.

“No problem,” I said, and squeezed paste on the brush for her.

Such a simple task, yesterday she’d done this herself. Today, her mind could not sort it out.

The agony is that there are moments, hours, sometimes days, when nothing seems to change, when part of me believes we have somehow escaped dementia’s death by a thousand little losses.

But that bubble will pop again tomorrow when I hand her the tube of toothpaste.

For now, I’ll keep pretending, it’s how I stay sane.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: Life is Like a Broken Egg, My Dementia Diary