My Dear Friend,
Great sadness and disappointment are born of hope and attachment to a future that never was and never will be. Waiting for joy in the future or looking for joy in the past denies us of the only source of joy: the present. We only experience love in the present. We only experience laughter in the present. Even our memories are only experienced in the present.
In a blink of time we are born, live our lives, and are gone. There is always one part of the body that malfunctions first. With Alzheimer’s it is the brain. Some people live only minutes, others hours, others years, and some live for decades. Very few live more than a century.
Who are we to complain that we are mortal? It is our mortality that gives us appreciation and beauty. It is in our mortality that we experience our senses, love, friendship, and companionship. As your Alzheimer’s progresses, your body and your emotions will still respond to touch, music, and warmth. As your brain fails you, celebrate the rest of your being. Surround yourself with love, laughter, and colors. Give the gift of a cheerful countenance to those you love and your love will live on in them after your body is gone. That is how people have lived from the dawn of human kind. The names of our ancestors are gone, their worldly deeds are gone, but we still can experience their joy in the language and culture left for us.
Find joy in this world, my friend. Find joy in trees, in animals, in the wind, and in the sea. Find joy in the eyes of your family, in their breath, and in their heartbeats. Search for joy in no moment other than the present. Long for no past or future. The promise of life is here and now and it is beautiful! In a hundred years we remain in the love we live today.
With all my love,
David Lazaroff is author of Live It Up! 10 Ways to Share Joy When Your Friend Has Alzheimer’s. David coaches family and friends of people with Alzheimer’s Disease in creating a fun and joyful life. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
David is the founder of Holistic Community Living, a Colorado nonprofit founded to operate and teach others to operate neighborhood-based assisted living homes where people can complete their lives with those they love.