Saturday, August 9, 2014

5 Contemplations For Dementia Care Partners

Sooner or later, during one's mindful journey, one becomes faced with a wall. One has a choice then. To keep bumping one's head against the inevitable, or to stop and contemplate the very nature of the wall itself. The wall is about the impermanence of life, and our need to face that truth. Many times, whenever grief wells up inside, as it did earlier today, I call upon the 5 Remembrances:

I am of the nature to grow old.
I cannot escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health.
I cannot escape having ill health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them. 

I inherit the nature of my actions in body, speech and mind.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.

Strangely enough, I find great comfort in telling myself those lines. It is as if the telling is paving the way for acceptance of what is to come, or what has already happened.  During my work with those in the early stage of cognitive impairment and also with dementia caregivers, I have learned to tailor the 5 Remembrances to more specifically address the unique challenges of the dementia journey. It goes like this:

I am of the nature to grow old.
I cannot escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health of body and/or mind.
I cannot escape having ill health of either body and/or mind.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them, in either body or mind.

There is no avoiding making mistakes.
I am doing the best I can and I hold myself with compassion.

May you contemplate those words often. And may you find comfort in them. 

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